In October of 1864, a group of workers was working its way steadily north along Military Road, installing the poles and telegraph wires that would connect Seattle at last to the rest of the world. Back then, they called it “tied by lightning!” — and everyone was thrilled with the prospect of being able to stay in closer touch with relatives or business associates back East.
In October 2014, we’ll be celebrating 150 years of the arrival of the telegraph with a series of events along Military Road in South King County. Kevin Saville, president of the Seattle-Tacoma chapter of the Morse Telegraph Club, will be installing hands-on telegraph demonstration stations in Federal Way, Kent, SeaTac and Tukwila that will be hosted by the local historical societies. Here are the dates:
In Federal Way
September 30 – October 9 (Tuesday – Thursday, 10 AM – 2 PM; also Saturday, October 4, 12-4 PM) at the Historical Society of Federal Way, 2645 S 312th Street, Federal Way, with additional displays from the era.
October 1-11 (Wednesday – Saturday, 12-4 PM) at the Greater Kent Historical Society, 855 E Smith Street, Kent, with additional displays from the era.
October 2-3 (9 AM – 5 PM) at SeaTac City Hall, 4800 S 188th Street, SeaTac
In conjunction with this demo, the Highline Historical Society is hosting a special telegraph exhibit at SeaTac City Hall through the month of October.
October 5 (12:30-5 PM) at Church by the Side of the Road, 3455 S 148th Street, Tukwila. Hosted by the Tukwila Historical Society.
Please plan to stop by any one of these free, hands-on demonstrations. Recommended for school classes and youth groups (with appropriate number of adult chaperones), as well as for adults. This series of site-specific telegraph demonstrations was made possible with the support of 4Culture. For more information about this project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, Tied by Lightning Community Conversations…
In addition, there will be two “Tied by Lightning” Community Conversations that will be held along the Road in October. This is an informal chance to learn a little more about Military Road’s fascinating history, and to share your own stories of life along Military Road.
October 15, 6:30-8:30 PM – at Mike’s Community Cup, 16260 Military Road S, SeaTac – facilitated by author Michael Schein.
October 28, 7-8:30 PM – at Iglesia Rey de Reyes (the old Star Lake School), 3212 S 272nd Street, Kent – facilitated by Green River College history professor David Norberg.
The Tied by Lightning conversations are being funded by Humanities Washington.