The Click-Clack of Writing

A tale of pre-Internet texting

Western Union

Today’s article is a little off topic from my normal coverage of book reading and the classics, and yet it has that message-from-the-past quality to it that I just couldn’t pass up. A friend posted an article on my Facebook wall that talked about the use of Morse Code at Disneyland’s New Orleans train station. The story is compelling not only because it is about Disneyland—yeah!—but because the author unraveled a mystery through an old dialect of English-language communication: nineteenth century Morse Code. In fact, the message and its medium were so old that even the Disney engineer in charge of its content didn’t know how to “read” it.

If you’ve been to the train station near Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, you’ve likely heard the clicking and clacking of recorded telegraph noise over the loudspeakers. More than just random sounds, the dots and dashes communicate a short message about memories from the past and promises for the future. While the message itself is standard inspirational fare, the effort that the article’s author took to discover the message communicated an even stronger inspiration about uncovering the words of our forebears from written classics of centuries past. Enjoy!


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