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Catalog Number WF 1707
Caption Guemes Channel Telephone cable accident
Description This photo is of the severed telephone cable to Guemes Island. It was taken on the dock in Anacortes. Brady inscribed this photo, "I, Jan. 13, 1931, Brady," marking the date that the severed cable was probably pulled from the bottom of the channel; the actual incident occurred December 13, 1930. The photo may have been taken for insurance purposes. The telephone cable was first laid to Guemes Island in 1912. The 4-4-1912 ANACORTES AMERICAN noted, "Complete telephone system has been established among the island settlement." That cable, however, would be continually broken in the coming decades due to the unusual bottom surface of Guemes Channel, deemed "unsuitable to hold a cable." "When the cable was first laid, engineers found no sand, mud or marine vegetation, the usual footholds, to hold cable. Channel has smooth sharp surface where tides can move cable back and forth twice a day." See the 12-18-1930 paper. Instances of cable breaking are as follows: Cable was broken early in the summer of 1921 when "a drifting ship with dragging anchors parted the cable and the Puget Sound Telephone Company did not feel constrained to restore it because of the small amount of pay patronage." The 7-26-1923 issue reported the cable had been laid again. The 1-6-1930 paper reported the Swedish motorship Anten tangled anchor in the Guemes Island telephone cable while loading at Anacortes Lumber & Box. Eleven months later the 12-18-1930 paper reported that the Robert Luckenbach, of Luckenbach Steamship Line, snapped the Guemes Island phone line the previous Saturday morning leaving "30 people without service." The article stated that specially constructed cable, made in Hawthorne, Illinois, and weighing 17 pound per foot, would be installed, "the largest cable on Pacific Coast. Usual cable would only last about 36 hours." The 8-27-1931 reported that after 8 months without cable service, the new cable would be installed within the week. See WF 1704-1711 for entire series of photos.
Date 1931, January
Photographer from the BRADY, Ferd collection
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Anacortes, WA
Transportation - Land
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Guemes Island
Telephone cable
Severed cable
Guemes Channel bottom surface
Puget Sound Telephone Company
Anacortes Lumber & Box Co.
Luckenbach Steamship Line
Object Name Negative