If you’ve lived in Texas for quite some time, and if you have an interest in Texas roots or cool Texas names, you’ve heard of Telegraph, Texas. I’ve heard the name for years, have even flown through the “town” with a heavy foot, but it was not until recently that Rickey, Missy Jones, and I went on the hunt to see just what Telegraph, Texas is.
The answer we found is two-fold because most people would tell you that it is absolutely nothing. We on the other hand would tell you that the ghost town is a pretty cool place to take a break from the car and visit some days gone by.
Today, Telegraph is located on U.S. Highway 377, about 13 miles southwest of the town of Junction. It sits very close to the banks of the South Llano River in Kimble County, and the town, if you will, consists of one lonely building and a historical marker, but once upon a time it was more, much more.
In the 1850s the need for telegraph poles was great and much cutting was done in a canyon that came to be called Telegraph Canyon (once part of Texas Governor Coke R. Stevenson‘s ranch) near what would eventually become the town of Telegraph. By the 1890s, many ranches dotted the area; however, big ranches do not denote lots of people, just the opposite, and there were never many residents of Telegraph.
The Telegraph store was built about 1890, and on February 17, 1900, the store also became the Post Office with Ruth Holmes as Postmistress.
While the 1920s roared, Telegraph swelled with tourists who discovered the South Llano River, the fishing, “bathing,” and the hunting that the beautiful countryside offered.
“During the 1920s Telegraph was a popular vacation spot for campers, hunters, and fishermen. In 1925 the community had a resident population of twenty-five, a tourist park, a gas station, and a post office-general store.”
People found their way to Telegraph; one name that you will remember is that of Senator Ted Kennedy who came to the area to hunt.
In 1996, the Telegraph Store was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Its last owner was Jamie Brite passed away in 2010, and sadly the old store is now closed to the public, but don’t be surprised if you see a kitty on the old porch who wants you to share part of your lunch!