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Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys

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Pioneer Telegraph Office

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Example of first telegraph equipment used.
Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The telegraph office was located on the east side of Main Street, south of Temple Square.
Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The overland telegraph monument marks the site where the transcontinental telegraph lines met, stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. The telegraph connection to Salt Lake City was completed on October 18, 1861, and provided the Saints with the ability to maintain contact with the outside world. It also provided much needed employment to the Latter-day Saints who supplied poles, subsistence, and transportation while constructing approximately five hundred miles of line. During the Civil War, two units of the Nauvoo Legion protected Overland Telegraph lines. This great innovation also allowed Mormon wagon trains to communicate their progress and, when necessary, to request the help of relief parties. Completion of the telegraph led to the demise of the Pony Express.

Marker on Main Street showing location of original telegraph office.
Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh

The First Telegram

Recognizing the impact of the transcontinental telegraph line, the Sons of Utah Pioneers erected this marker in its honor on October 18, 1955. The marker contains the first messages sent and the following inscription:

At this location on October 18, 1861, stood the telegraph pole, shown on above plaque on which telegraph wires were joined which spanned a continent and united two oceans.

On that date the first two telegrams transmitted were as follows.

“Hon J. H. Wade. Great Salt Lake City, U.T.
President of the Pacific Telegraph Company
Oct. 18, 1861—Cleveland, Ohio

Sir permit me to congratulate you upon the completion of the overland telegraph line west to this city to commend the energy displayed by yourself and associates in the rapid and successful prosecution of a work so beneficial, and to express the wish that its use may ever tend to promote the true interests of the dwellers upon both the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of our continent. Utah has not seceded but is firm for the constitution and laws of our once happy country, and is warmly interested in such useful enterprises as the one so far completed.
Brigham Young.”

The reply was as follows:

“Hon Brigham Young President
Cleveland Oct 19, 1861—Great Salt Lake City:

Sir, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your message of last evening which was every way gratifying, not only in the announcement of the completion of the Pacific telegraph to your enterprising and prosperous city, but that your, the first message to pass over the line should express so unmistakably the patriotism and union-loving sentiments of yourself and people.

With just consideration for your high position and due respect for you personally. I am your obedient servant, J. H. Wade, Pres. Pacific Telegraph Company
G. S. L. City, Oct 18. 1861"



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Brigham Young University Religious Education presents
Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys
Featuring BYU Religious Educators teaching about sites significant in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
For more information, or to visit our interactive web site with dozens of additional sites to explore,
please visit VirtualTours.BYU.edu
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Everett, Washington


Brigham Young University Religious Education presents

Hallowed Ground

Sacred Journeys

featuring BYU Religious Educators teaching about sites significant to
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.

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