the telegraph, the depot, & chiclets
this november 1, 1923 news item sparked quite a conversation 97 years later:
When I hired out as a telegrapher in 1961 I joined the same union Rosco Zink belonged to. The Order of Railroad Telegraphers, or O.R.T. In 1890 there were 27 telegrapher positions between Table Rock and Lincoln. There were nine between Pawnee City and Wymore. And this was on the Burlington only, there were more on the Rock Island, Missouri Pacific, Union Pacific. There were a lot of lighting slingers - fist pounders back then. A telegrapher could go anywhere in the country and find a job. Those that moved around a lot were called "Boomers."
Asked by Stan Sitzman if there was a telegrapher at each depot, Larry said:
There was a telegrapher at every station between Table Rock and Lincoln, and yes some had two. Some stations had an Agent, a telegraph operator, a clerk or two and a "helper."
The timetable shows some had a day telegrapher and some had a day and night telegrapher. I assume each operator worked a 12 hour shift. Elk Creek had one, a day operator, Tecumseh had two, a day and night operator. White Cloud had one, Rulo had two, a day and night operator.
They all were supervised, hired and fired by one man, the Chief Dispatcher. The first thing us operators did when we got to work was to look and see if we had a message from the Chief Dispatcher. I got a few, one read: explain by wire why passengar train at Cobb arrived at Lincoln on a yellow signal or explain why report of fuel usage at your station was late arriving at my office. Nothing escaped his attention. Mistakes were not tolerated.
Here's another little "tidbit" re the "Order of Railroad Telegraphers" union as described by Larry L.
W.F. (Bill) Giles was a General Manager or Supt. can't recall which..probably both.The name Giles replaced the name TOGO as the name of the junction of the "Straight Side" and the "Dirty Side" of t;he Chariton branch just north of Lamoni Iowa. I'm not sure where the name TOGO came from but, of course, that was not an acceptable name for anything during WW 2. It was about that time Togo was renamed Giles.
a spin off conversation about the depot & about chiclets!
JOYCE WOPATA NEWTON
I remember going into the depot at TR. those polished wooden benches that were one long piece , but had arm rests to separate where people set. There was a little “gum ball “ type machine that dispensed little boxes of chiclets if I had a nickel . The floor was off white , always so clean.
I think the chiclets were two pieces wrapped in cellophane for a penny. The agent got to keep 10 percent of the deposit of pennies as payment for refilling the machine. Every month my sister Lois and I would go to the depot and count the pennies.
Asked to tell more about the depot, Larry said:
An odd thing about the waiting room was that it had two doors for the public. One that faced the Reno that was to serve passengers on the Wymore Line and one on the opposite side which was to serve passengers on the Lincoln Kansas City line .
In later years the public used the door opposite the Reno. The other door was mainly used by the operators when they left the train order office and went outside to hand up train orders
There were a lot of people from all over that bought tickets from my dad. He was an expert on ticket routing.
joyce wopata newton
It was only loaded once a month. I'm think there was a choice of maybe four flavors. Each box was displayed behind a glass covered chute. You had to push down a little lever to make a selection, then turn the round metal wheel you referred to, and the box would drop. I think each box sold for a penny.