Collins Overland Telegraph
New Westminster at the time
Just a little down the road from Fort Langley at the intersection of Glover Road and TELEGRAPH TRAIL. is a boulder supporting plaque. If you haven't seen it, don't beat your self up to badly for it's easy to miss. This little plaque makes note of the TELEGRAPH TRAIL, "Collins Overland Telegraph". In the 1860's this line was going to provide instant communication with Europe from North America with a line that went under the Bearing Strait to Russia. But stopped not far from Quesnelle Mouth we know today as Quenele. It was not needed do to a rival telegraph line successfully laid under the Atlantic Ocean out of New York. What the plaque doesn't tell us is the monumental effort and logistics put into not only moving miles of cable and supplies through the untouched wild land. The lengths of wire cable could not be carried by a single horse and they needed a hand cleared trail wide enough for the loaded pack horses to walk.

Horse feed would also be needed in areas where feed was scarce and that too was carried on their backs.

Hunters would do their best to provide fresh game for the linemen to eat and one room cabins erected, would house contracted individual linemen responsible for clearing fallen trees and line repairs, all year long. Needless to say some could not take the isolation. Many and unnamed graves of the men lost in the lines construction & maintenance lie along the trail.
In later years the old and now abandoned Telegraph line, helped to keep cost down when the New Westminster & Burrard Inlet Telephone company made use of it.

The Pilgrim hat, glass insulators used on the line are highly prized by collectors. I would love to have one or a Collin's Overland Telegram, wouldn't you?

John Mitchell
Collins Office in New Westminster.
The Rugged Country of BC
The BC Surveyors & Crew
Going up the Cariboo Wagon Road's Snake Hill.
Top Hat Insulators used "highly Collectible"
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