The first mayor of Lethbridge—he would serve seven terms—was also
land commissioner for the NorthWestern Coal and Navigation Company
Limited. In March 1893, working in conjunction with the Mormons and
the Mounties, he began negotiations to create the 112.6 kilometre
long-distance telephone line that would become the Lethbridge and
Cardston Telephone Company.
The Mormon settlers in the Cardston district, the Mounties
patrolling the district and the Lethbridge boosters, all had an
interest in a telephone system. Magrath’s idea was to have Mormon
volunteers cut telephone poles, and then place them along the line.
The Mounties’ part of the bargain came in the form of an
appropriation through parliament of $2,100 sponsored by Colonel Fred
White, comptroller of the Royal North West Mounted Police.
By June 1894, Cardston, Lethbridge and the Mountie outpost on a
hill overlooking the Montana border had their telephone line, at a
cost of $1,760.
The town of Magrath is named after Charles A. Magrath.
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Heritage Community Foundation and
Telephone Historical Centre All Rights Reserved