Otto Wettstein, Jr. owned and built the first Independent telephone exchange in Illinois at Rochelle in 1896, at the expiration of Bell-Watson telephone patents. He moved to La Porte City, Iowa, in 1898 and from 1898 to 1911 built exchanges in 21 cities in Iowa, five cities in Nebraska, and the Hannibal, Missouri exchange.
In 1911, Wettstein built an exchange in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Between 1915 and 1925, when Florida Telephone Corp. was organized, he acquired 28 exchanges. Wettstein served as president of the Florida Telephone Association in the early 1940’s and was editor of Florida Telephone News from 1948 to 1961. In 1954 North Florida Telephone Co. purchased 10 exchanges and he became the new company’s chairman of the Florida Telephone Corp. He acquired 42 exchanges in Florida.
Wettstein was one of the pioneers in consolidating operating properties and proved the feasibility of such operations. In 1964 he was awarded recognition for 69 years of telephone service by the Florida Telephone Association at its annual convention. He died in 1967.