Thursday, July 17, 2008

Historic redwood telegraph poles

From: "Doyle Rowntree"

Regarding your article on the 1864 redwood telegraph pole. Working for the Southern Pacific in West Texas in the 1970's I noticed a few old poles along the right of way (some were still in service) that appeared cut in a very similar manner to the one pictured. These poles were quite aged looking, had a tapered rectangular cut and not a rounded taper as you would now expect a pole to have. In fact the information put out back then is that they were redwood and dated to construction of the line in that part of Texas (1880's). Most of those remaining poles that I noticed were west of the Pecos River which would make sense as the Pecos River area was where the Southern Pacific construction crews working east met the GH&SA (Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio) line advancing to the west.

As information, most people assume that the "H" in GH&SA stands for Houston. Harrisburg is now a forgotten suburb of Houston. However, in the 1850's when construction commenced (it took this line 30 years to progress to West Texas), this line originated at Harrisburg, completely bypassing Houston. Only later was a connection built to Houston.