Communication is Key to Development

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Today in History, October 24: 1861 – The Transcontinental Telegraph in the US is completed at Salt Lake City, Utah by the Western Union Telegraph Company, operating under a $40,000 per year subsidy. The logistics of the construction had been daunting. Glass insulators and wire had to be shipped by sea to California, the hauled by wagon over the mountains. Similarly, there was no source for the thousands of tall poles on the plains, and these too had be hauled long distances. The connection of the pre-existing eastern and western telegraph systems would spell the end of the 18-month-old Pony Express, and would bring near instantaneous comminication between Washington and California. The importance of this during the Civil War was recognized before construction began.

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