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Welcome to the Wendover Page!
History of the Transcontinental Phone Line
in Wendover

On June 17, 1914, the last of 130,000 poles connecting a 3,400 mile telephone line between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was erected in Wendover.
The Pacific Telephone Company had worked east and The Mountain States Telephone Company had worked west from Denver to complete the line in
minimal time. Seven months later, the first historic call came across the wires from Alexander Graham Bell in New York to his assistant, Mr. Watson,
in San Francisco.

The actual installation of the line had been a monumental undertaking. Severe winter conditions had required installers to work in temperatures as low
as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 12 to 20 feet of snow. In the summer, the temperatures on the Salt Flats rose to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, baking the
surface of the desert and requiring dynamite to blast out holes in which to erect the poles. In areas of mud, construction equipment bogged down and
holes had to be re-dug when the sides would collapse.

The original transcontinental line consisted of open copper wires connected to green glass insulators; the transmission wires weighed 2,960 tons, not including the insulation wire. Of course this wire is obselete today.

In 1914, a cross-country call took 23 minutes to place and cost $20.70 for three minutes, station to station. Since the line was not direct and
continuous, switches in Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago were necessary to join segments of the line. All the segments had to be clear and not in use before a transcontinental call could be completed.

Wendover made history again in 1942 when the first transcontinental all weather buried cable was joined in Wendover.

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Copyright 1999-2007 James Eveleth. All rights reserved.