The phones were such that they were plugged into both an electrical outlet AND a phone outlet. I tested the electrial receptacles. They are NOT working for that end of the house. The lights ARE working, however.
The theory is that perhaps there was a power surge that came through the electrical plugs and followed the phone cord into the phone jacks, messing it all up.
The electric company has confirmed that it is an internal problem.
The house was built in 1961 or 1968 (can't remember).