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Ghost Mines of Yosemite (1958) by Douglass Hubbard


Envelope sent from Bennettville, California
[click to enlarge]

14. STAMPS AND WIRE

OLD POLE ABOVE SADDLEBAGS LAKE
[click to enlarge]
OLD POLE ABOVE SADDLEBAGS LAKE
PAIR OF POLES ARE WEATHERING SIDE BY SIDE
[click to enlarge]
PAIR OF POLES ARE WEATHERING SIDE BY SIDE
ABOVE THE LAKE CANYON CLIFFS
[click to enlarge]
ABOVE THE LAKE CANYON CLIFFS

AMONG THE RAREST of western postmarks is “Bennettville, Tioga Mining District, Mono County, Cal.” With C. W. Curtis as first postmaster the Bennettville post office was established on March 13, 1882. Successive postmasters were Robert W. Woolard and William P. Onkst. Mail was carried on foot or on Norwegian snowshoes, generally via the Lake Canyon route from Lundy. The post office was discontinued on November 19, 1884. 38

More prompt and efficient communications were assured with the completion of “the world’s highest telephone line” up the steep east face of the Sierra:

The Lundy and Tioga telephone line, recently constructed and owned by the Great Sierra Con. S. Co. of Tioga, is the highest telephone line in the world. The line is about nine miles in length, ascends 4,245 feet from Lundy, crosses Mount Warren Divide at an elevation of 12,250 feet above sea level, descends 3,750 feet to Lee Vining Creek, again ascends 800 feet to Bennett City, which is 9,300 feet above sea level. It works like a charm, every word over the line being clear and distinct, even when the most furious storms are beating against the wire along the lofty divide over which it runs. 39

The old line is down, its poles and insulators broken, but it may be traced for hundreds of yards where it crossed Mount Warren Divide (Tioga Crest) above Saddlebag Lake and down the perpendicular cliffs above Lake Canyon. At the summit of the divide three pairs of poles are weathering side by side, the position in which they were dropped from the panting pack animals which carried them there more than 70 years ago.



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