Desert Messenger

October 5, 2011

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Page 6 desert messenger celebrates the arizona's centennial with voices from the past in Quartzsite, AZ Excerpts from "In the Shadow of Saguaros" by Rosalee Oldham Wheeler June 12, 1922 ~ Fred Kuehn strings a telephone line to Quartzsite In the early 1920s Fred Kuehn transported passengers and the U.S. Mail to and from the Arizona & California Railroad station in Bouse to the Lead City and Valenzuela Mines, and other stops before arriving back in Quartzsite. The Kuehn Stage left Bouse for Quartzsite on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8.30 a.m. If there were no passengers at the mines there would be no need for Fred to drive his open-air 1912 EMF touring car on a dead run. The EMF was the fore- runner of the Studebaker Automobile Company. To cut down on dead runs Fred decided he needed a way for the station manager in Bouse to let him know if there were passengers needing a ride. With telegraph and telephone lines along the railroad track in Bouse, Fred decided to look into how he could get a telephone line from Bouse to Quartzsite. On June 12, 1922 Fred Kuehn applied to the Arizona State Tax Commission for the assessment of a telephone line from Bouse to Quartzsite. Charles R. Hair was the certified Yuma County representa- tive and reminded Fred that he would be responsible for buying the 24 miles of telephone line needed for the proj- ect. The wire for the line was a stagger- ing $480 but he would be the autho- rized franchisee of the telephone line to Quartzsite. He scoped out the route and decided that he would only need a few tall poles because there were enough Palo Verde, mesquite and ironwood trees, plus a few sa- guaro cactuses that he could string the line on. Before the end of 1922, Fred made his first telephone call from his Tamarisk Lodge to the Arizona & California Railroad station manager in Bouse. The Swansea Mine closed in 1928 and service by the Arizona & Swansea Rail- road was discontinued. The Lead City and Valenzuela Mines also closed and the Kuehn Stage made fewer runs from Bouse to Quartzsite. Fred and his wife Elsie, whose home was also known as the Tamarisk Lodge & Cabins, no lon- ger had a waiting list of guests who enjoyed the delicious meals prepared by Elsie and their daughter Bessie for investors who had come out West to October 5, 2011 meet with mine promoters. The hassle to keep the telephone lines properly hung was a big job, especially when the summer winds blew. And there were fewer and fewer calls from passengers needing stage service. Af- ter the stock market crash of 1929 there were hardly any paying passengers and getting a business or homeowner to sign up for telephone service was a luxury that no one could afford. During World War II, for the most part, folks in Quartzsite were isolated from the rest of the world, but in major cities there was progress going on in radio, telephone and something called television. Technology in communica- tion was making progress beyond our imagination. Bill Keiser's stepson, Billy Jasper had gone off to World War II and the Navy SEE TELEPHONE ON PAGE 7 Featuring the A Fun, Family Event sponsored by Quartzsite Rotary harry luge band Live Music! Beer Garden! Rodeo Food Car Show Dancing Bounce House Tickets: Sat. Oct. 15th • 2-10pm Quartzsite Town Park $20/advance $25/at door Includes Friday night Pre-Party concert Tickets avail. 9/23 Sponsors needed! Help support this community event! Donations accepted at Horizon Community Bank under "Quartzsite Country Bash" or you can visit the website at www.QuartzsiteCountryBash. com or Call Monica Timberlake at 928-916-4120 RV Specialist PO Box 5082 • Quartzsite, AZ 85359 Quartzsite Coachworks On Site RV Repair A/C • Electrical • Plumbing • Roof Repair • All Appliances CALL TODAY! 760-799-2370 Serving the RVing Community since1977

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