Stop


We've all heard of Western Union but, in 1937, Postal Telegraph had more local offices serving Louisville. If you needed to send a telegram, you could find a Postal Telegraph office on Third, Fourth, and Fifth Streets, at the Seelbach and Brown Hotels, in the Heyburn and Kentucky Home Life Buildings, at the Bourbon Stock Yards, and at 112 East Main Street, pictured above with a bicycle ready for the next delivery.

During the 1937 Flood, two hundred thousand telegrams were sent from and received in Louisville. The telegraph, like the telephone, wasn't dependent on the city's electrical service, which failed for a time.

Even before the flood, a telegram was the cheapest way to quickly reach someone out-of-town. Long distance telephone calls cost significantly more.

The trick to saving money on a telegram was to keep the message at the flat fee rate of ten words or less. Punctuation cost extra, so customers sometimes used STOP at the end of a sentence, as the word was covered by the flat rate.

Telegrams eventually lost their usefulness to more advanced technology. The last telegram in the U.S. was sent in 2006. In 1937 though, Louisvillians appreciated an efficient way to reach their loved ones.


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