The Abandoned Telegraph Station of the Midway Atoll

The Commercial Pacific Cable Company telegraph cable station building is on the northern end of Midway Atoll of Midway Islands, of the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

The Commercial Pacific Cable Company set up residence on Midway Atoll in 1903. Cables were being laid for telegraph communications from Honolulu to Midway Atoll to Guam to Manila. It was the first telegraph route from North America to the Philippines, China and Japan. Deep sea cable layer ships would lay the underwater submarine communication cables to provide telecommunications from one land mass across the sea to another land mass.

The cables that went through Midway Atoll were part of the first ever telegraphed message to travel around the world. It was sent by former president Theodore Roosevelt on July 4th of 1903 where he wished a Happy Independence Day to the US and its territories and properties. The message took 9 minutes to reach one end to the other. Theodore Roosevelt placed the atoll under Navy control to protect the cable station from complaints of Japanese squatters and poachers by the workers of the Commercial Pacific Cable Company.

The Commercial Pacific Cable Company ended operations in 1951 and was later merged with AT&T. The cable station on Midway Atoll was subsequently abandoned and has been deteriorating rapidly since the 1980’s.

All the little birds can be seen in the next few photos!

Where is the abandoned cable station on Midway Atoll located? You can find it with these coordinates. 28.215661,-177.378573.

All images used and licensed under CC BY 3.0. All images by Forest & Kim Starr.

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