NewsWhat's in the Basement?


What's in the Basement? Telegraph relay device

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jul 15, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Many people know the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in Utah in 1869. But years earlier, in 1861 the first Transcontinental Telegraph lines were linked in Salt Lake City.

A telegraph relay device is among the pieces of Utah's past stored in the basement of the Rio Grande Train Station in Salt Lake City.

The Utah Divisions of History and Art have amassed a combined total of 1.8 million items of cultural and historical significance. They carefully curated collection fills the basement of the old Rio Grande Train Station in Salt Lake City, where the Utah State Historical Society has a research center on the main floor.

The public has never had access to the basement, and following the earthquake which struck Salt Lake City in March, the entire building is now closed for repairs.

In an effort to share a bit of Utah history, FOX 13 teamed up with the Utah Divisions of History and Art. Experts with those organizations will be showing us some of their favorite pieces from the permanent collection. We’ll be showing one each day from the 4th of July through the 24th of July.

To learn more about the “Cattle Queen” who once owned the telegraph relay device seen in this story, click here: