by Mary Sheldon, President Hernando Historical Museum Assoc., Inc.
Today’s generation possesses an ability to enter text messages and emails on a cell phone with lightning speed. In 1885, when a telegraph office was established in the train depot in Brooksville, telegrams were created with that kind of speed.
Not only that, but a new language was devised by inventor, Samuel Morse, that became known as the Morse code. The telegraph operator had to learn the language of dots and dashes both to send and receive messages. The messages were printed as dots and dashes and then were transcribed into a typed telegram.
Operators got so good at hearing the telegraph key clicks that they could transcribe without even looking at what was on the written ticker. They used a sounding box to amplify and to help them hear the sound of the taps. Someone came up with the idea of placing an empty tobacco can next to the key to create an even louder sound.
Whether the telegram was sent from Dade City concerning a shipment of turpentine and rosin or from Raymond Robins at Chinsegut Hill to one of his well-known friends or officials, telegrams humming through the lines brought Brooksville into the high-speed world of the time.
The Museums are open!
The May-Stringer tours Tuesday - Saturday - 11 am- 3 pm - 352-799-0129
The 1885 Depot tours Wednesday, Friday & Saturday - Noon - 3 pm - 352-799-4766
The Countryman One Room Schoolhouse is closed for the summer - 352-515-3054