Where The Heck Is Prince Edward’s Telegraph/Semaphore Line?

Russ and I have been pondering this for quite a while.

From approx 1797 to 1801, there was a communication line constructed as a semaphore telegraph system from Halifax, to Windsor, down to Annapolis Royal. It has also been referred to as an ‘optical telegraph’ and ‘visual telegraph’ line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semaphore_line (as much as I dislike Wikipedia…)

The Prince planned to extend the line to Fredericton (and likely Quebec) possibly even to Fredericton. There seems to be some doubt that the line made into the NB wilderness, but historic sites counter this premise:


For a system that was revolutionary (based upon a European French design), there really isn’t much that has been written about it. It seems likely, based on a 7 to 12 mile separation of towers along the line, that there could have been approximately 20 platforms built. Question is – where were they? There are guesses, but no primary reference descriptions. 

It is probable that there was a tower built at Windsor (Fort Hill). It seems that quite a few of the tower locations on the Halifax peninsula are fairly well known, but once the line headed into the wilderness, it was lost to memory.

It would be fascinating finding old paths/roads and tower locations and take a look around. Even though only manned for 2-3 years before the prince left the province, I’m sure there would be fascinating artifacts and stories at these sites…


4 thoughts on “Where The Heck Is Prince Edward’s Telegraph/Semaphore Line?

  1. I was wondering what kind of progress you’ve made (if any) on researching more about the old semaphore line. Drop me a line if you’d like.

    1. Sorry for delay

      I have not found anything concrete – though when I speak to locals, I hear vague and frustrating snippets. I keep reminding myself that the AV was pretty sparsely populated about 1799 – especially where much of the line would have existed.

      Do you have a particular interest in the Semaphore Telegraph?

      1. I heard about it in passing last year and it peaked my interest. I did some cursory research and plotted the approximate location of the line and i runs out back my home.
        In May I created an art installation piece for Uncommon Common Art that was inspired by in Kents telegraph. http://www.uncommoncommonart.com/stop-15.html

        Seems like most of the people I had talked to about it while completing the project didn’t have any idea about it.

        Seems strange that it isn’t more common knowledge.

      2. Agree, Ben. Still one of those physical history items that just bugs me. There is a fair amount written about the city system, but out here in the boonies – nothing. Your piece was very interesting – thanks for the response

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