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Cable Office

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1904. 2 Lincoln St.

WAMCATS, the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System, succeeded in linking military bases in Alaska with those in the rest of the country (without going through Canada) through both underwater and overland cables. Sitka proved to be a pivotal location on the system, a link between Seattle and Valdez, all served by submarine cable. At Valdez, the system went overland as far as Saint Michael on Norton Sound. It was altogether an engineering triumph that was authorized by Congress in 1900; by August 1904, Seattle and Sitka were linked, and two months later Valdez and Sitka.

This building was constructed, probably in 1904, to house the telegraph terminal and switching equipment, although it has a distinctly residential character. The square house, 40 feet on a side, is two stories, with a pyramidal roof with wide bracketed eaves. Its wood-framed construction is now clad with aluminum siding, but the simple lines of the building have been maintained. By 1931, the cable had been replaced by a network of radio stations, but the building continues to operate as a communications center.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Cable Office", [Sitka, 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, 194-194.

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