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Charles A. Magrath

Charles Alexander MagrathThe 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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