Opeongo Line Telegraph

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Opeongo Line Telegraph

Postby D Laframboise » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:30 pm

I have been thinking lately about old telegraph lines which did not run along railways and what kind of chances would be for finding anything on them. I recently discovered on an 1875 postal map which showed post offices, direct line routes and telegraph stations. It seems that part of the Opeongo colonization road scheme included a telegraph service. One line shows extending from Renfrew to Shamrock, Dacre, Griffith and ending a Matawachen. Only Renfrew and Matawatchen have a telegraph station with all others in between being postal stations. Another line extends up the Opeongo starting at Dacre and extending to Clontarf, Vanbrugh, Brudenell and Rockingham. From Clontarf to Rockingham, all had telegraph stations. From Rockingham lines branched out to Palmer Rapids to the south, Combermere to the west and through Hopefield to Bark Lake in the north. It was quite amazing to see how far it extended into the wilderness!

I researched histories of this area relating to telegraph and I came up with information dating it to as early as 1871 to Brudenell. The 1871 census lists someone from here as being a telegraph operator. This area during the 1860's and 70's was at the forefront of a timber boom which saw populations in all the communities swell. By the 1890's things were winding down and many of the communities became ghosts of their former selves.

Does anybody have any other information regarding this line such as when it was built, who operated it, when did it become defunct...etc? This would definitely have been a threadless line likely consisting of just one wire and possibly strung on trees as the roads were through bush. I would love to find some photographs from along the road at this time to see if there were poles and how many wires and maybe, with some luck, a close shot of an insulator.

The line may have good potential for hunting with a metal detector. The line would have been vastly realigned over the years leaving many portions of the old road taken over by the forest. Hopefully the line would have been just abandoned and left to fall apart to the ground as by the 1890's there would be nothing worth salvaging. I am hopefully going to get out that way maybe in the spring to do some looking around. It would be an awesome rush if something were to turn up here.

Happy Hunting!

D Laframboise
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:56 pm

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