Message #250

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 17:02:13
Subject: Washington-Alpha Telephone, 1852-1867

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

[ SASIG Ed. Note -- is an architectural
researcher interested in industrial archaeology, specifically
the documentation and interpretation of the ruins and
artifacts of the electrical infrastructure that has developed
over the last 150+ years; ]

From: Roc H. Indermill

Regarding schizo's e-mail inquiry of 22 Sep 1998, my crew
and I recorded a telephone line erected between Washington
and the Alpha hydraulic gold mine in Nevada County,
California. This mine was in operation between ca. 1852 and
1867. The telephone line linked the mine's administration
office in Washington with its field office. It was a single
bare ware, nailed to trees. Most of the mile or so that we
investigated was still hanging in place. We believed that
it was the first telephone line built in California. I
recorded my observations in a draft survey report tentatively
entitled "The Helimega Timber Sale..." The report was never
finished because the US Forest Service dropped the timber sale.
My draft should still be on file at the Nevada City Ranger
District, Tahoe National Forest, Coyote Street and 49th Street,
Nevada City, CA, 95959. You may be able to acquire a copy of my
draft from District Archaeologist Bill Slater, at the above
address. I do not have a personal copy. I recently [completed]
a job on the Bighorn National Forest in north-central Wyoming.
A single telephone line there linked the Burgess Ranger Station,
where I was living, to three lodges and as many as four other
subscribers. I understand that this telephone line was last
upgraded in 1922. Transmission and reception across this single
bare wire was unintelligible at times during my three-month
tenure. It was said that you could not use it whenever the wind
blew, and the wind almost never stopped blowing there.