Saturday, December 07, 2019

"Western Wonderland" brochure & map, Union Pacific Railroad

Today is a departure (pun intended?) from the usual nonsense here on GDB; I went to a recent paper collectibles show, and didn't get much, but on a whim I bought a fun and colorful brochure/map from the Union Pacific Railroad. WESTERN WONDERLANDS! It is undated, but a few clues inside lead me to guess that it is from 1956 or so.

First off, take a look at this wonderful cover, with the terrific mid-century illustrations. The subject is "The West", so we've got a cowgirl (and two cowboys), horses, canyons, mountains, the ocean, and a palm tree that looks suspiciously coconutty. Take the train to Hawaii.

Enjoy fine dining on the Domeliners, where large windows allow prime viewing of those beautiful vistas! Or take a wistful nap and try to forget an embarrassing moment from high school. Look at those comfy reclining seats, oo-la-la.

Driving a car does have its advantages, but the romance of train travel can't be denied. Everyone looks like they're dressed for a cocktail party. "To Colorado - from Chicago - it's just overnight via modern Domeliner". Arrive at your destination rested and relaxed. Sounds pretty sweet. And from what I've read, the food on these trains was very good.

Howdy, partner! The mention of Disneyland helps to date this item to no earlier than 1955, while the mention of Yellowstone's "new Jackson Lake Lodge" (built in 1955) makes me  think that this must be from around 1956 or '57. I love the descriptions of the wonders that each state (or area) has to offer.

Boy, do I love these 60 year-old photos of some possible vacation destinations. They make me want to hit the road!

Ski, skate, go dancing, relax at a dude ranch, go fishing and hiking, play a round of golf, swim - and wager a few bucks in Las Vegas!

My favorite part of this whole piece is this wonderful illustrated map of the Western U.S. I've included a nice big jpeg for you! It took some work, let me tell you. 8 separate scans, all stitched together. But it was worth it.

I've loved these kinds of illustrated maps since I was a child, and still do. You've got your natural wonders like Crater Lake, man-made features like the Grand Coulee Dam, and plenty of happy tourists enjoying healthful outdoor activities. 

A train ride from L.A. to Yellowstone, sounds pretty nice. I mean, you get to stop in Lund, Utah! (Never heard of it). Also, Pocatello Idaho! (Geography isn't my strong suit, apparently). 

I'm a little surprised that Disneyland's castle didn't make it, but it is possible that the map was painted before the park had opened. Hey, there's "Vegas Vic" next to Hoover Dam! Noisy sea lions perch on rocks near San Francisco Bay. We can see Carmel Mission, and the giant sequoias, Yosemite's Half Dome, and even some movie production in Hollywood.

I hope you have enjoyed the "Western Wonderland"!


Nanook said...

"Or take a wistful nap and try to forget an embarrassing moment from high school". Drat, Major - why didn't you share this pearl of wisdom before-? (All those missed opportunities while I was traversing these great United States by rail).

I see 'junior' is appropriately-dressed for the lounge: sport jacket, slacks and bow tie - front and center-! Chalk-up another fan of these great illustrated maps. You can really let your imagination wander as you look for all the "hidden details".

All aboard, Major-!!

JC Shannon said...

I actually have a similar brochure from 1956 on the City of Portland. The Domeliner photo is fantastic. After seeing this one, I am ready to pack my bags and head west. Love the color, love the graphics, and the art. All Aboard! Thanks Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love everything about this brochure, especially the graphics! Hmmm, Marineland gets a mention, but no love for Knott's Berry Farm.

Those reclining seats might look comfy, but just wait until the elderly man reclining behind you, starts kicking the back of your head because he's got restless leg syndrome.

Chuck said...

UP introduced the Astra Domes in 1955, so while that doesn't help narrow the date down, it definitely reinforces the era. The Astra Dome dining cars (top photo, second image) were the only dome dining cars ever built for US use.

Note the line of buses in UP colors the Sun Valley winter photo (image 6). Almost looks like a train (which may have been why it was included). UP developed and owned the Sun Valley resort, which explains their heavy promotion of it in this brochure.

The two farthest and two nearest buses appear to be Sun Valley Stage Co. Flxible Clippers. The shiny aluminum area on the right side of one of the buses was a ski rack.

The third bus from the rear appears to be a Union Pacific Stage Lines GM PDA-4101.

The background building in that same photo above the front two buses is what was then known as the Challenger Inn (now the Sun Valley Inn). Ernest Hemingway completed his manuscript for For Whom the Bell Tolls there in 1939.

And, um, the other pictures in the brochure are pretty cool, too. :-)

Andrew said...

"Domeliner" or "Streamliner?" - it's the eternal question...

zach said...

Great scans today. I love this stuff! As a kid I traveled on some of these routes due to my Dad's employment with the Southern Pacific. I've traveled hundreds of miles in a dome car. You really triggered some memories this morning.

This time frame was at the end of the great age of passenger train travel. It was sad for me to see the major passenger trains like the Daylights, Chiefs, etc. getting shorter with diminishing services. Most of the sleek colorful train sets were gone by the mid 60's and then Amtrak mostly took over in the 70's. Some of the names remain but it isn't the same.

Thanks, Major, for the extra work on the map,


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, there’s no such thing as a nap that will help me forget MY embarrassing moments from high school! Yes, that kid is really dressed up - I guess it’s similar to the way people used to dress up to fly on an airplane.

Jonathan, I assume the “City of Portland” is a locomotive? Let’s see a scan of it! What, you got something better to do? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, yeah, why doesn’t Knott’s get any love? It had been there long enough. And they could have just indicated a little mule, or a boysenberry, or Sad Eye Joe. Reclining seats are of the devil, I hate it when the person in front of me suddenly drops into my lap.

Chuck, once again you astound me with your knowledge of buses, it is pretty impressive. I’ll have to take photos of some of my bus ephemera and share it here on the blog someday! Thanks for the info on the Challenger Inn. Hemingway… I used to get a kick out of a “Bad Hemingway” writing contest back when my grandmother followed such things.

Andrew, it’s true, even Leonardo Da Vinci asked that question!

dzacher, I’ve seen lots of train brochures when I go to paper shows, but none has appealed to me the way this one did. I’ve done very little actual travel by train - I think we went from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin when I was a little kid, and I mostly remember it being long and uncomfortable. There was a small child who wanted to play “peek-a-boo” with me when all I wanted to do was sleep!

TokyoMagic! said...

I forgot to comment on the photo of that poppy field in Southern California. I would love to know where that land is and what it looks like today. Is it still undeveloped, or is it all covered over by now?

dzacher, my grandfather worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. I believe he started out working in the R.R. yards at an early age and then worked his way up into management. He had an office in the Pacific Electric Building (which is now "lofts") on the corner of 6th and Main St., in Downtown L.A. For some reason, we only took the train with my grandparents once, and that was from Union Station in L.A. to San Diego, to go to the zoo. When I was twenty-four, I took the train from L.A. to Seattle, WA. It took two days, and fortunately, we had our own small "compartment" with pull-down beds. I loved it and thought that I would take the train again some time, but 30 years have now passed, and I haven't done it.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, that photo might show one of the poppy preserves, at least I hope so. I'd hate to think that the flowers have been replaced by houses and strip malls. I don't know if you've ever mentioned that your grandfather workd for the Southern Pacific Railroad!

Dean Finder said...

It's unfortunate that most of this equipment fell under the scrapper's torch. I've taken Amtrak up and down the east coast, and from NYC out to Chicago and Denver, but less often now as they've cut back on amenities like on-board food services. Amtrak tries to compete with airlines with modern-looking interiors, but I think they'd have better success selling a luxury product with classic dome equipment to cruise-ship customers.

Chuck said...

Dean Finder, I think that's the model that Via Rail Canada (Canada's Amtrak equivalent) uses with their Toronto-to-Vancouver streamliner Canadian.

Anonymous said...

When traveling was part of the adventure...not just a means to get there. KS

Anonymous said...

Nice work on the maps, Major. Thank you!

When I lived in the Valley, home was always under a Sequoia tree because nothing ever happened in Fresno.

Now, the Redwood Empire would be replaced by Wine Country.

My train experiences echo many of the other posts. Great way to travel. I recently had a 6 hour trip from Bilbao to Madrid which was pretty good, and a 4 hour ACELA express from DC to New York, also very nice.