• Pipe Spring National Monument

    Pipe Spring

    National Monument Arizona

Telegraph Room

Winsor Castle was the site of the first telegraph station in the state of Arizona.

The transcontinental telegraph wire came through Salt Lake City in 1861, and immediately revolutionized communications. Information from Washington, D.C., or San Francisco that once took weeks or months to reach Utah now arrived in only a few minutes.

However, the majority of the Utah settlements were north and south of Salt Lake City.
Thus the transcontinental line -- running generally east-west -- initially did little to improve communications within the territory.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints decided to build its own adjunct line, dubbed the Deseret Telegraph, linking communities to the north and south of Salt Lake. Construction on this line started in 1866.

Initially, Brigham Young asked that each community with a telegraph station train one or more young people in the art of telegraphy.
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Telegraph table with key

Telegraph table with key, sounder and paper.

NPS image

Eliza Luella Stewart, the first telegraph operator at the Pipe Spring station, which opened in 1871, was only 16 years old. At least seven other women operated the telegraph at Pipe Spring between 1871 and 1888.

The women who ran this station lived and worked in this room. On the table you can see the tools of their trade: the telegraph sounder which would relay the clicks of the Morse code,

NPS image

the sending key with which they sent their messages down the wire, and the paper used to copy incoming messages.

The telegraph line in this region ran from Toquerville, Utah, to Rockville (near Zion National Park), then to Pipe Spring, and on to Kanab, Utah, by 1876 it reached Orderville, the end of the line. At Toquerville, it joined the main line to Salt Lake City. Pipe Spring has several of the original glass insulators and what is believed to be a section of the original wire used in the Deseret Telegraph system.

Under the table was the wet cell battery; it's one and a half volt charge could send a message at least 300 miles, if there weren't too many birds sitting on the line causing additional resistance.

Did You Know?

Telegraph key at Pipe Spring National Monument

Pipe Spring National Monument is home to the the first telegraph office in Arizona. This office was on the Deseret Telegraph Line. More...