Telegraph Lines in Oregon

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Electrical Review

New York, NY, United States
vol. 13, no. 13, p. 7, col. 4

Telegraph Lines in Oregon.

Mr. J. A. Crouch, the Western Union's foreman of their construction and repair work, was in Portland, and was questioned by an Oregonian reporter as to the progress of his work and the condition of the company's lines.

"The only construction work we are now engaged upon," said Mr. Crouch, ''is the erection, by a force of men under J. H. McFarland, of a line from Farmington, some forty-three miles into the Coeur d'Alene country. Material is ready, however, for forty-five miles of line between The Willows and Heppner, and fifteen miles on the Lake Shore & Eastern from Gilman out, both of which will be built this coming winter. On this end of the same line, between Spokane and Sand Point, a line will be run, for which we are now shipping thither 1,300 poles.

"Mr. S. Creighton has just returned from putting in thorough repair, for the winter, the seventy-five miles of Coos bay line between Roseburg and Empire City.

"New lines are being run, and I think by this time must be about completed, from Reddiug to Ashland, along the line of the Southern Pacific. These will give the company a fine service between here and San Francisco.

"The lines on Puget Sound are working satisfactorily, and are in good repair.

"We are about to start a repairing party out over the Astoria line. About all that can be said concerning this line is that it is run through about as good a route as could be chosen, and is thoroughly looked after. The only other way the line could be run would be straight across from Forest Grove, or some neighboring point, and in such a case, it would still be subject to the effects of storms, the districts through which it would pass would be in places well-nigh impassible, and the canneries along the Columbia would be left without means of telegraphic communication, which certainly ought to be accorded them.

"The company, to my mind, is doing all that can be expected of it in the matter of keeping this line in order. No line could be built, no matter how big the poles, which would not break down with the weight, of falling trees and branches, and the force of heavy storms. As soon as the line is broken the men start out at once. On the 70 or 80 miles between Kalama and Astoria, we have four men placed the year round. They live from 15 to 20 miles apart. Travel over the shores is for the most part impossible, and the only means of getting from point to point is the use of a rowboat. The forests and sloughs are impassible. The men take their 'grub' with them, and camp out where night finds them. In view of all the circumstances, it seems to me that there is no just cause for complaint against the company, and I regret that the board of trade should have thought it necessary to cast any imputation upon the management. No human foresight can prevent the effect of the storms, and the men certainly get out and work as promptly as they can, repairing the broken poles and lines.

"The party which is about to start out will put in new poles where they are thought to be necessary, and will trim away and cut down those branches and trees which seem in danger of falline unon the line.


Keywords:Western Union Telegraph Company
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:June 27, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;