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Cable Office

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1905. 219 Sixth Ave.

The one-and-a-half-story, wood-framed bungalow at 219 Sixth Avenue was constructed in 1905 as the cable office. The Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS) used both underwater and overland cables to connect military posts in Alaska to the United States. Seward was connected to Valdez in 1905, and in 1924, when the cable was replaced, Seward became the northern terminus for the underwater cable, rather than Valdez. In 1931, the cable was abandoned in favor of radio communications.

John E. Ballaine donated a 30-foot-by-100-foot lot for this building, but when Maj. W. A. Glassford requested an additional lot for a 30-foot-square feet house, Ballaine refused. The government finally leased two lots.

The first floor of this building served as the cable office, with space for the operator, the public, and equipment. The second floor contained quarters for the operators. The gable-fronted building has cornice returns on the gable and is three bays wide with a center door. The hip-roofed porch across the front has chamfered box columns and a balustrade; on its roof is a balustraded porch. The building has been covered with stucco and has a concrete foundation.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Cable Office", [Seward, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 113-114.

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