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Down With The Telegraph Poles

     The “News Letter” has repeatedly urged upon the authorities of San Francisco the necessity of compelling corporations which are engaged in the conveyance through our streets (for any purpose) of the electrical fluid, to place their wires underground. It has been demonstrated over and over again that the maintenance of a forest of poles and a network of wires overhead is not merely atrociously unsightly, but also alarmingly dangerous. The danger arises from a number of causes. In cases of fire, these wires retard the movements of the firemen to an extent which is liable at any moment to lead to the loss of millions of dollars worth of property, besides imperiling human lives. Another evidence of the dangers arising out of the use of poles and overhead electric wires was given in New Orleans on the 30th of December last, when an organ-grinder who was leaning against one of the poles of the Louisiana Electric Company was suddenly struck dead by a flash of electricity which descended the pole from the wires it bore. This, of course, is a very unusual incident, but yet it is liable to occur at any moment and to any person.

If such dangers were unavoidable, they would have to be tolerated. But they are not unavoidable. They can easily be guarded against by placing the wires underground. The subterranean system has been tested, and has been found to work excellently. In Chicago an underground circuit of fifteen thousand miles has been established, and after a four-years’ fight the municipal authorities have at length compelled the telegraph companies to place their wires in this system, and take down their unsightly poles. It is time for our Board of Supervisors to do likewise.

San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser
January 16, 1886