72nd Avenue, Langley District, British Columbia, V1M, Canada
Collins Overland Telegraph Line
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The heritage designation applies to the roadway that follows a portion of the Telegraph Trail (or Collins Overland Telegraph Line) that runs for 2.07 kilometres in Northwest Langley.
The Telegraph Trail was the first heritage designation by the Township of Langley (1974) and is protected because of its strong historic significance. Built during a two month period in 1865, the line represented a new era of communication on the local, provincial, national and international scale. The building of this cable line was part of an exciting communications race to connect North America and Europe. The goal of Perry McDonough Collins and his partners in the Western Union and the California State Telegraph Company, was to build a cable line from Los Angeles (USA), through British Columbia and Alaska, under the Bering Strait, through Russia and on into Europe.
It was the biggest and earliest project launched in Western Canada, and the first overland telegraph system in Western Canada. The project was abandoned less than a year later when word came that a cable had been successfully laid between Newfoundland and Ireland across the Atlantic ocean floor. Collins and his team had managed to string the line from its starting point in the United States, up through all of BC and into Alaska before they stopped. Most of the line was left to disintegrate, but the section through southern BC was taken over and used by Western Union.
A side benefit of the installment of the telegraph line was the trail it created as a necessary byproduct to construction. For Langley, this trail became one of the first major transportation routes until Old Yale Road was started in 1872.
Source: Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
The character-defining elements of the Telegraph Trail include:
- The topography of the road, expressed in its:
- Winding characteristics,
- Dips and rises
- Narrow width of the road
- Lack of road shoulder
- Shallow ditches
- Edges lined with grass and shrubs
- Indigenous trees and shrubs
- Scenic vistas experienced along the road
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Road or Public Way
- Communications Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Langley Centennial Museum, heritage files
Cross-Reference to Collection