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Railroads:
Trails of Steel

Introduction

The Southwest's existing transportation network traces its origin to the early migration corridors of the Native peoples and the exploratory routes of 16th century Spanish conquistadors. Later, as missionaries, traders, prospectors, soldiers, and settlers followed in their footsteps, the paths were transformed into rugged wagon trails. Along these routes staging areas and supply depots sprung up. The early settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico (1609), San Diego, California (1769) and the Old Pueblo, Tucson, Arizona (1776), were central to the organization and development of life on the frontier.

Western lore has romanticized many of the historic trails. The Old Spanish Trail, the Old Gila Trail, and the Old Santa Fe Trail were three of the west's most infamous trails. The Spanish Trail was the northermost route across the west going through Colorado and Utah. The Gila Trail was the southernmost route running through Arizona and New Mexico. The middle trail, the Santa Fe Trail, was the most direct route and it was chosen by the Santa Fe Railway Company for their transcontinental rail line.

When the stampede to the California gold fields started in 1848, it became evident to the nation that an improved transportation network was needed. The transcontinental railroad was planned, and railroad construction began a furious schedule of expansion. Most of this expansion was a highly competitive venture made by railroad companies into remote areas of little settlement and mere promise of economic return. The gamble paid off after towns and cities located along the rail lines and the Southwest became populated.

Two rail companies, the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe (popularly known as the Santa Fe) and the Southern Pacific Company, were instrumental in building the rail transportation network throughout the Southwest.

The Santa Fe Railroad, after its infrastructure was in place, began to promote the settlement and economic development of the region. In the late 1800's, in order to attract more passenger traffic to its line, the company started an aggressive campaign to promote tourism. This meant building hotels and restaurants for the comfort of their passengers. The company also commissioned ethnographers, artists and photographers to depict the Southwest's scenic splendor and its unique Indian culture to entice travelers to visit and explore the area. The promotional slogan "Santa Fe Southwest" was coined in their advertisements. By 1910 they had an exclusive connection to the Grand Canyon, the greatest scenic attraction in the Southwest, and they used it as a major part of their promotional campaign.

The Santa Fe became more than a railroad company. It had wholly-owned and partially-owned subsidiaries in real estate, petroleum, lumber, hotels, restaurants, and car-ferry and stage-highway road services. Its most notable partner in the hotel and restaurant business was the Fred Harvey Company. The story of how Fred Harvey and his "Harvey Girls" helped civilize the west is a frontier legend. The Harvey Company went on to found an empire of eating establishments and hotels linked to the Santa Fe Railroad.

Just as the Santa Fe had commissioned artists to capture the mystique of the region, the Fred Harvey Company began its own collection of Indian artifacts and handmade crafts. The company, to some extent, imitated museum collectors, and by 1902 they had a permanent collection of Native arts and crafts displayed in the Indian Building in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That display was followed a few years later by one at the Hopi House, next to the Grand Canyon's famous hotel, the El Tovar.

Some of the artists who worked for the Santa Fe were Maynard Dixon; Louis Akin, who toured Arizona in 1903; Thomas Moran; William R. Leigh, known as the "sagebrush Rembrandt"; and Taos artist E. Irving Couse. After purchasing the artist's works, the railroad then proceeded to reproduce them on its promotional literature. Postcards, dining menus, picture books, and brochures were elaborately reproduced. Our selection of dining car menus highlights some of these artists.

Not to be outdone, the Southern Pacific Company had its own promotional campaign. They coined the slogans "Golden Empire" amd "Sunset Route" and used them on their train time schedules and brochures. The Southern Pacific Company offered cross country service from New York to New Orleans via steamship, with train connections on to San Francisco and Portland. The earliest Southern Pacific rail line closely followed the Old Gila Trail through El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. Our selection of train time schedules from both companies demonstrate the level of promotional competition and artistic flair they encouraged.

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To view the whole pamphlet as PDF (color or black-and-white), click on the linked call number next to the thumbnail. Note: Unlike thumbnails on other pages of this site, the thumbnails below are not linked to larger images.


Pamphlet Descriptions:
Dining Car Menus


El Tovar Santa Fe Dining Car Service By Fred Harvey
Tammany Special Train No. 1
Democratic National Convention Denver, July 1908
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[0.1MB]



This 1908 dining car menu is the dinner menu on the Tammary Special Train No. 1 going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 1908. The exquisite dining cuisine is courtesy of Fred Harvey Company. The artwork is a scene of the El Tovar Hotel overlooking the Grand Canyon in Arizona.


Detail of 
pamphlet Santa Fe Dining Car Service By Fred Harvey
1909
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[0.5 MB]


The 1909 dining car menu features a scene from the Old Mission in California, by artist O. Gross. The dining service is courtesy of the Fred Harvey Company.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Santa Fe Dining Car Service By Fred Harvey
Circa 1950s
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[2.2 MB]


The San Francisco Peaks are located near Flagstaff, Arizona along the Santa Fe Railroad route. The mountain range was named after St. Francis of Assisi by Franciscan missionaries who worked on the Hopi reservation at Oraibi. The artist, Louis Atkin, is known for his realistic and academic style of art. The menu offers delicious selections.


Detail of 
front cover Santa Fe Dining Car Service By Fred Harvey
Circa 1950s
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[2.1 MB]


Turquoise is known as the "traveler's stone" and is esteemed as a lucky stone with magical powers. Its powers are to help travelers escape harm and attain good fortune. The Turquoise Bead Maker is from the Santa Fe Railway's collection of paintings featuring Indians of the Southwest. The artist, E. Irving Couse, depicts his favorite theme of painting scenes of Indians handing down craft knowledge from one generation to another.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Santa Fe Dining Car Service By Fred Harvey
Circa 1950s
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[2.5 MB]


It is difficult to describe the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Here artist, William R. Leigh, has approached its beauty, vastness, and glory in this painting. The Santa Fe Railroad, with its service to the South Rim of the Canyon, provides travelers with the most convenient way of reaching this scenic masterpiece.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Fred Harvey Service
Santa Fe Beverage List
Circa 1960s
Vertical File Fred Harvey Co. (Santa Fe Dining Car Service and Hotels)
[2.4 MB]



This simple, yet colorful, rendition of Southwest life graces the beverage service menu aboard the Santa Fe line.


Pamphlet Descriptions:
Train Time Schedules


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Atlantic & Pacific Railroad
Santa Fé Route, August 1896
Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., Printers
1896, 1 folded sheet
HE2728.A7 Pam.
[0.2 MB]



"Of all the transcontintental routes the Santa Fe is easily first in scenic interest as well as quickness and comfort of train service and excellence of dining facilities." This fold-out pamphlet contains the time schedule for all trains (not just the Santa Fe line) running between Chicago and San Francisco. Side routes were available to El Paso Texas, Guaymas Mexico, Ogden Utah, Denver Colorado, and Galveston Texas. A large fold out map, which we were unable to reproduce, showed the routes. The timetable also includes short descriptions of selected travel sites along the routes and information on mining activity at Cripple Creek, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The schedules were not reproducable, but the text of the Cripple Creek area and the mining activity report are reprinted.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Southern Pacific Company
[Sunset Route, February 1889]
San Francisco: Crocker & Co's Print.
1889, 1 folded sheet
HE2728 S6 1889
Partial pamphlet [1.7 MB]



The "Sunset Route" of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company ran from Portland and San Francisco to New Orleans. The passage took 4 3/4 days. Continuing on from New Orleans passengers could make a steamship sailing connection to New York via the Cromwell Line Steamers, or on to other rail connections via the Louisville and Nashville R.R. or the Illinois Central Railroad. This fold-out pamphlet contains the train schedules for the Sunset Route and all connecting routes. It also has a text description of the Sunset Route, but because the print is too small to reproduce, it is not included here.


Detail of 
cover Southern Pacific Company
California, Texas, Mexico, and Arizona Southern Pacific Co.
"Sunset Route" August 1890

New York: American Bank Note Co.
1890, 1 folded sheet
HE2728.S6 Pam.
Partial pamphlet [1.2 MB]



This fold-out pamphlet features the Southern Pacific Company's "Sunset Route". The pamphlet features the train time schedules and a separate California and Texas information column detailing each states' climate, industry, and resources. Connections are also available to "Old Mexico" Mexico City, Central America, Hawaii, Australia, Japan, and China. Poole Brothers, Map Engravers, Chicago, drew the centerfold map that is too large to reproduce.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company
The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway System and Connecting Lines
Corrected to Sept. 20, 1906

Chicago
1906, 72 pages
HE2728 A7 Pam. Sept. 1906
Partial pamphlet [1.2 MB]



"Time of Trains, Sleep Cars Schedules and Other Information" entitles this fold-out pamphlet. Besides the schedules and rates, this pamphlet also includes promotional literature. It describes the Grand Canyon's El Tovar hotel as "the most unique, the most comfortable, the most costly hotel in the Southwest... Every modern convenience is provided-such as steam heat, electric lights, baths, rooms en suite, private dining rooms, an amusement and club room, a solarium, roof garden, and music... Adjacent is a unique stone-adobe struture, occupied by Hopi Indians, where some of the most noted Harvey Indian curio exhibits are placed; close by are two Navajo hogans. Representatives of the Hopi, Navajo, and Supai tribes add a picturesque element to the scene." This exhibit is the cover of the timetable showing a traditional Indian blanket.


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company
The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway System
Santa Fe Grand Canyon Line, Corrected to January 1, 1928

Chicago: Rand McNally & Company
1928, 64 pages
HE2728 A7 1928
Partial pamphlet [2.2 MB]



This 1928 timetable is 64 pages long, filled with schedules, route maps, and advertisements. Unfortunately the print is too small to reproduce. We have shown a few of the larger advertisements from the schedule. The Santa Fe Meal Service is featured on page 59. It says, "The dining-room, lunch-room, dining-car, and station-hotel serivce is managed by Fred Harvey. It is a service unequaled in American railroading. It sets the standard. On the Santa Fe you do not eat in an eating-house; you dine at a dining station. There's a difference--the Fred Harvey difference."


Detail of 
pamphlet cover Southern Pacific Company
Southern Arizona
1928, 15 pages
C9791 Pam. 79
[2.2 MB]



This 15 page promotional brochure produced by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and completely reproduced here, features sights seen along their Sunset and Golden routes through southern Arizona. The pamphlet has text and photographs showing Arizona's visitor sites, national monuments, historical places, and fun activites. A center fold map includes icons of western themes.



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