HELENA — Couriers delivering telegrams were the major mode of communication between the 19th and early 20th centuries. After 175 years after the first telegram was delivered, a Helena company is reviving the practice.
"I don't think most people know that they can send a telegram in Helena," said Skylar Ittner, Helena Express Owner.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ittner was working for the Post Office and saw the long lines, and he thought he could provide quicker service and revive an old tradition through his business.
"I just came up with the idea one day. I was just going on the Internet looking at various things and ended up going down a rabbit hole of telegrams, and then at some point, I realized that's a service my company could offer," said Ittner.
Ittner began delivering telegrams last year and says now, with Wi-Fi and Internet, access to telegrams has never been easier.
"All done online now because you know the Internet. You don't need the Telegraph wires anymore because you have the Internet," said Ittner,
All you have to do is visit Helena Express's website or their app, write what you want to say, where the telegram is headed, and any special delivery instructions. After paying 15 dollars, your telegram will be delivered in 24 hours.
Helena Express can deliver to the Helena Valley, Montana City, East Helena and the hills around Helena.
"Telegrams have been around a long time and they kind of died off a bit, but they're still used for things like important events when somebody has an important message like if somebody is getting married, you send them a telegram congratulating them about it, and so it's just it's something that still has value for people," said Ittner.
And with Ittner's mobile unit in his car, he can print off telegrams and deliver them within minutes.
"It's pretty cool," said Ittner.
You can find out more on the Helena Express website.