U.S. Route 87, Swisher County, Texas, November 2004
File this photograph under the category of "commercial archaeology." Thousands of miles of telegraph wires still follow the railway lines of the United States. Out of use and out of order, the wires snag between poles, while other wires have long ago gone missing -- probably recycled to fund some vagrant's meth lab.
Time was when every railroad station had a Western Union telegraph agent, who would round out messages for businessmen, police, and family members to send up the line and across the country, and even the world.
Railroads stopped using them decades ago as they switched over to radio communications. Yet, the ubiquitousness of railroad communications networks was such that they once connected an entire continent with itself and the rest of the world. One such carrier is still known to millions of (frustrated) customers this very day as Sprint -- the former Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.
This particular photograph was printed from the extreme fine-grain Efke R25 film. Though this roll has been in the freezer almost six years, upon development it still produces the sharpest images I've ever obtained from the Rolleiflex SL-66 camera.