For most of us, the telegram is a quaint, historical footnote. It had its heyday in the early 1900s until long distance phone calls and other advanced communications rendered the delivered messages obsolete in certain parts of the world. Electronic mail may have been the final screw in its coffin. The last telegram in the United States was delivered in 2006 through Western Union, according to this NPR story. But here in Mexico, the telegram lives on. This is a picture of a telegram office in Tijuana, which was open on a recent Sunday. Though I’m told that many of the transactions here involve wiring money to relatives, (Tijuana is a city that attracts a large number of migrants from other parts of Mexico) the telegram apparently still serves a purpose in communicating with friends and families in remote villages that have limited or no access to phone and computer networks.
Here is a link to Mexico’s Telecom-Telegrafos with a photo of telegram deliverymen on motorcycles. In Mexico, telegrams can be delivered within 24 hours through “ordinary” service and 12 hours for “urgent” messages.
Western Union also seems to still be offering telegram notes from the U.S. to Mexico, according to their web page.