On this date in history, October 24, 1861, Western Union finished building the transcontinental telegraph, opening up communications between the Atlantic and Pacific seas for the first time, just as the American Civil War tore north and south apart.
In Salt Lake City, the lines from both coasts were combined.
In President Abraham Lincoln’s absence in Washington, D.C., the state’s top justice, Stephen J. Field, wrote to the president, “The people of California desire to congratulate you upon completion of the great work.”
On October 21, 1797, the illustrious warship USS Constitution was launched in Boston.
They hope it will serve as a tool for fortifying the ties that unite the Union’s east and west. They want to show their commitment to that Union in this first letter sent across the continent.
The telegraph’s completion, which enabled faster-than-ever coast-to-coast connection, immediately rendered the prior mode of transcontinental communication obsolete and brought an end to a brief but fascinating period in American history.
“Will be the means of strengthening the attachment which binds both east and west,” the transcontinental telegraph promises.
According to the Library of Congress, “This technological development, pioneered by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse, signalled the end of the Pony Express.”
A STRONG THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION IS ISSUED BY LINCOLN ON THIS JOURNALING DAY IN HISTORY, OCT. 3, 1863
The equestrian mail service, which had previously offered the quickest method of communication between the eastern and western United States, was formally shut down just two days later, on October 26.
It had only been April 1860, or 18 months, since the Pony Express had been established.
In the summer, it took about 10 days, and in the winter, it took around 16 days to send a letter from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco.
The Express delivered President Lincoln’s first inaugural address in seven days and 17 hours, according to a statement from the Library of Congress on the president’s inauguration on March 4, 1861.
On September 23, 1806, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis as heroes following their journey.
Only a little more than a year prior, Congress had allowed a subsidy of $40,000 per year to any business establishing a telegraph line that would connect the eastern and western networks, according to History.com. This was the beginning of the campaign to build a transcontinental telegraph line.
The Pony Express was rendered obsolete by the transcontinental telegraph. Two days later, it came to an end.
As implied by its name, “The Western Union Telegraph Company” accepted the task and started construction right away on the vital link that would connect the western edge of Missouri to Salt Lake City.
One of many significant turning points in the American people’s ambition to realize their Manifest Destiny and create a united country from sea to shining sea was the development of the transcontinental telegraph.
After an 18-month trip from St. Louis, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark discovered a land-and-water passage to the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805.
On May 10, 1869, in Promontory Point, Utah, the ceremonial last gold spike was driven into the rails to complete the construction of the transcontinental railroad.