November 12, 1869: First telegraph exchange between Duluth and St. Paul

On this day in Duluth in 1869, the first telegraph messages were exchanged between St. Paul and Duluth. At noon, St. Paul mayor James T. Maxwell sent this message: “To Duluth City. St. Paul City, head of the Great River, sends greetings to Duluth, her sister of the Lakes and Gateway to the Seas.” It was signed “The Mayor and other citizens.” At 2 p.m. that same day, the Zenith City responded: “To St. Paul City. The Great Lake answers the Great River—the electric tie in words is well—the iron ties in deeds will be better—the Metropolis of Minnesota hails the Capital.” It was signed by Horace Saxton, J. B. Culver, William Nettleton, Sydney Luce, and J. J. Egan, calling themselves the “Committee on Telegraph Celebration.” The second dispatch from Duluth was by another group of citizens to William Banning, President of the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad, which would soon connect St. Paul and Duluth. The third was from Dr. Thomas Foster, editor of the Minnesotian, sent to “the newspaper press of St. Paul,” stating that “Duluth and St. Paul are now, and always will be, identical in interest.” The fourth was from George Sargent, who sent the following message to Chicago Mayor J. B. Rice: “Telegraph completed. Duluth, the infant, sends greetings to Chicago, the Giant, City of the Lakes.” Rice replied, “Hail sister of Lake Superior. May the energy of your people make your future a realization of the promise of the present.” That evening the Bay View House hotel held a celebration that included “a supper and addresses, and sentiments, to be followed by a ball.”

Subscribe to This Day in Duluth!

You cannot copy content of this page