Submitted by Walter Buddy Weber class of 1963
a bit funny? Well, for about 500 towns across the northern
were the best watches found at the train station? The railroad company
wasn't selling the watches, not at all. The telegraph operator was. Most
of the time the telegraph operator was located in the railroad station
because the telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to
town. It was usually the shortest distance and the right-of-way had
already been secured for the rail line.
of the station agents were also skilled telegraph operators and it was
the primary way they communicated with the railroad. They would know
when trains left the previous station and when they were due at their
next station. And it was the telegraph operator who had the watches. As
a matter of fact, they sold more of them than almost all the stores
combined for a period of about 9 years.
was all arranged by "Richard", who was a telegraph operator
himself. He was on duty in the North Redwood,
ordered more watches from the watch company and encouraged the telegraph
operators to set up a display case in the station offering high quality
watches for a cheap price to all the travelers. It worked! It
didn't take long for the word to spread and, before long, people other
than travelers came to the train station to buy watches. Richard
became so busy that he had to hire a professional watchmaker to help him
with the orders. That was Alvah. And the rest is history as they say. The
business took off and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods.
Richard and Alvah left the train station and moved their company to
IT'S A LITTLE KNOWN FACT that for a while in the 1880's, the biggest
watch retailer in the country was at the train station. It all started
with a telegraph operator: Richard Sears and partner Alvah Roebuck!
You Didn't Know That!
maybe you did; I didn't! Now that's History.