History of Dehradun - Page 2

Another landmark year for Doon was 1901, when telephone bells began ringing in the valley. But television had to wait till the year 1975 when the Mussoorie TV Tower was built. In 1901, Dehradun had a population of 24,039, while the neighbouring town of Rajpur, which lay en route to the hill-station of Mussoorie, and from where pure-drinking water was supplied to the city through pipes, had a population of 2,900. By the beginning of the 20th century, Doon had become famous for its five C’s -- Chobe (timber), Chuna (limestone), Chawal (basmati rice), Chai (tea) and Chestnuts.

Fort TThe 20th century also saw the construction of a motorable road to Dehradun. It was in 1920 that the first car, a Ford T model was driven up to Kulri via Jharipani by Col E.W. Bell, son-in-law of Swetenhams and owner of the Clouds End Estate. The present Mussoorie Road was built uptil Bhatta by 1930, King Craig by 1936, and after independence in 1954 it reached Library and in 1957 it reached Picture Palace.

The economy of the valley was primarily agricultural and was given a tourist boost by the visit of the Indian princes and the British during summers etc. It was only with the coming of electricity, in the year 1909, when the first bulb was lit on May 24, 1909, at Mussoorie, and in Doon in 1918, that the economy underwent a change.

rimc logo The beginning of the 20th century saw the setting up of many national level institutions in the valley. In 1901, adjacent to the Garhi Village in Dehradun Cantonment, the then Viceroy Lord Curzon set up the Imperial Cadet Core to impart military training to Princes and those of aristrocatic background. In 1922, the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College (RIMC), now Rashtriya Indian Military College, was started at the same campus. It was inaugurated on 13th March 1922 by his Royal Highness, Prince Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales. During his address to the first thirty-seven cadets he said, "It is the first few blows on the anvil of the life that give the human weapon the set and temper that carry him through life's battles".  The RIMC has a sprawling campus of 138 acres with quite a few heritage buildings in Tudor Style, some nearly a hundred years old.

forest research institute In 1906 the Forest Research Institute was started at Chandbagh Estate where the Doon School is now located. In 1930, the Railway Staff College was set up in the present Chetwode building of IMA. The college closed down within a year or so due to financial constraints.This campus was later (in 1932) selected for the establishment of the Indian Military Academy.

The next towering institution to be set up in the valley that changed its very economic fabric was the ONGC. Most of the major schools and colleges in the valley were set up in the 20th century, though missionaries had started opening schools in the valley in the 1850s. One of the first schools to be set up was St George’s College, Barlowganj. American Presbyterian Mission Boys High School and Dehra Christian Girls’ Boarding School (CNI) are the two early schools that were set up in 1853 and have a reputation even today.