Telegraph Point, Skeena River

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Telegraph Point, Skeena River

by | Jan 24, 2021

Telegraph Point is the historical site of a telegraph station on the north bank of the Skeena River, about 48 miles (77 km) southwest of Terrace and 28 miles (45 km) southeast of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The site is now a pullout and rest area along the Yellowhead Highway and the historical Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

The electric telegraph was developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse and other inventors, and revolutionized long-distance communication. It worked by transmitting electrical signals through a heavy galvanized wire laid between stations. The Collins Overland Telegraph, also known as the Russian–American Telegraph, was a project by the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1865–1867 to lay an electric telegraph line from San Francisco, California to Moscow, Russia. The route was intended to travel from California via Oregon, Washington Territory, the Colony of British Columbia, and Russian America, under the Bering Sea and across Siberia to Moscow, where lines would communicate with the rest of Europe. The project was abandoned in July 1867, a year after an Atlantic undersea cable was successfully completed and the first transatlantic message was sent to England.

In British Columbia, a portion of the Collins Overland Telegraph was completed between New Westminster on the Fraser River and Hazelton on the Skeena River. This construction project introduced steamboats to the Skeena that were used to transport equipment and supplies to the interior. After the project collapsed, the Dominion Government Telegraph purchased the remaining infrastructure and expanded the system. From 1901 to 1902, the Skeena Line was built from Prince Rupert to Hazelton, a distance of 203 miles (327 km) with log cabin telegraph stations to house telegraph operators and linemen. In 1914, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was completed linking the newly built seaport at Prince Rupert to Winnipeg. The Grand Trunk Pacific Telegraph ran parallel to the Skeena Line. The station at Telegraph Point was occupied until the 1930s. Today, all that remains are occasional telegraph poles and lots of wire strewn in the underbrush. Read more here and here. Explore more of Telegraph Point here:

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