Author Archives: karinc2

Gary Emmons, Telegrapher for the Northern Pacific Railroad

By Karin Crelling

“I enjoyed every moment I worked, and some people can say: ‘Gosh, you know…I don’t like that job’ and so forth, but I truly enjoyed every second I went to work. I thought that was sort of the neatest thing I could go do and would lament the fact when I didn’t get a call to go to work on a weekend job or something like that because there was no need for my services. So I never did think about it as a job; I just thought it was kind of a neat place to go and interact with all these… all these trains” — Gary Emmons.

Gary Emmons working as a telegrapher for the Northern Pacific Railway in Tacoma, Wa (1962). Photo courtesy of the Emmons family.

Retired AirForce Colonel Gary Emmons talks about his time as a telegraph operator and train dispatcher in the 1960s. His career with the Northern Pacific Railroad started at the age of 16.

During his eight years of employment with the railroad, Gary Emmons witnessed the changes that progress brings with it; not all of them good.