Art News

150 years of the completion of the transcontinental telegraph, a primitive Internet united the USA

LOS ANGELES (AP).- Long before there was an Internet or an iPad, before people were social networking and instant messaging, Americans had already gotten wired. Monday marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental telegraph. From sea to sea, it electronically knitted together a nation that was simultaneously tearing itself apart, North and South, in the Civil War. Americans soon saw that a breakthrough in the spread of technology could enhance national identity and, just as today, that it could vastly change lives. “It was huge,” says Amy Fischer, archivist for Western Union, which strung the line across mountains, canyons and tribal lands to make the final connection. “… With the Civil War just a few months old, the idea that California,