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Railroad history and EJ Phillips 1880s-1896   

I long to retrace great great grandmother and Broadway actress EJ Phillips' travels by train. I've done the Los Angeles to San Francisco route (partly by bus) in 2001, and look forward to a Chicago to San Francisco trek via Denver and Salt Lake City, possibly north to Yosemite, really seeing Seattle, and revisiting Portland,  and Vancouver. How much can I recreate of her trips west? No Amtrak trains through Wyoming and only bus connections through Idaho.  I know she went to Los Angeles, and possibly San Diego, but am not sure whether she took the southern route back east. I suspect the Grand Canyon she refers to is the Royal Gorge, not Arizona.  (Mrs. AM Palmer and sons were reported to be going to Yellowstone in 1886.)  A broken ankle in Jan 2012 has delayed the Chicago/Denver/Salt Lake/San Francisco trip, but I was fortunate to go to  Vancouver/Victoria and Portland  in June 2014.  Railroad Letters  1886-1896  Had hoped to go in September 2020 and look forward to being able to plan once travel is again possible.

Amtrak rail passes come in 15 day 8 segment and 30 day 12 segment versions.  https://www.amtrak.com/deals-discounts/multi-ride-rail-passes/rail-passes/take-the-trains-across-america-with-usa-rail-pass.html

 I can certainly manage Chicago to San Francisco in 2 weeks.  Could really use advice from train buffs. railroad historians and people more familiar with the Rockies to  San Francisco than I am. Might even travel from Boston to Chicago and beyond by train.

Train to Chicago from Boston Lake Shore Ltd. takes 19 hours and goes through Utica, Albany and Buffalo https://www.amtrak.com/routes/lake-shore-limited-train.html 1 night both directions

Train from Chicago to San Francisco [Emeryville] California Zephyr  takes 51 hours and 20 minutes and goes through Denver and Salt Lake City.
https://www.amtrak.com/routes/california-zephyr-train.html   Would need to stop [in at least one direction] at Denver 

Chicago to Denver 17 hours and 15 minutes, goes through Omaha  Would also go to Boulder and Pike's peak. 1 night on train. Denver to Chicago 1 night
Denver to Salt Lake City 15 hours 1 day  Salt Lake City to Denver 1 night
Salt Lake City to San Francisco 16 hours and 40 minutes 1 night on train SF to Salt Lake 17 hours 1 day

Sleeping accommodations on Amtrak https://www.amtrak.com/onboard-the-train-sleeping-accommodations  include meals. Prices for roomettes and bedrooms are the same for one or two people.

Chicago Google Map

Chicago Letters 1886-1896  chicago.htm
Tremont House 1886, 1887   Palmer House 1888 Sherman House 1889   Leland Hotel 1890  Tremont House 1890, 1895, 1896  Sherman House 1893,1894

Oct. 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago  Stony Island Avenue 56th St to 67th, Midway Plaisance, near the University of ChicagoA fire in July 1894 destroyed almost all of the buildings, were planned to be temporary, but Justin Martin's Genius of Place, a recent biography of FL Olmsted gives advice on getting a sense of the Fair, as does a website I came across recently. 
  1893 Columbian Exposition White City

Finding Relics of the White City in Jackson Park

Jackson Park …was originally conceived by the newly formed South Park Commission in 1869, it was the eastern portion of the planned 1,055 acre "South Park," to be designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York City's Central Park. While much of Olmsted's initial plan was realized for the Western portion of the park (currently Washington Park), the area now known as Jackson Park had seen few improvements prior to its selection as the site for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. For the exposition Olmsted closely worked with architect Daniel H. Burnham to transform the swampy area into the legendary "White City." After the fair, the site's conversion back to parkland followed a third Olmsted plan leading to the park's current state.

Today, two structures remain as symbols of the World's Columbian Exposition. The "Golden Lady" sculpture is a one/third replica of Daniel Chester French's Statue of the Republic and the original Fine Arts Palace now houses the Museum of Science & Industry.

In addition, the Wooded Island of Jackson Park retains two garden relics: the site of the old rose garden from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the Osaka Japanese Garden. This garden, dating to 1935, was added near the then-extant old Japanese Pavilion (Ho-oh-den) from the world's fair. The site of the old rose garden is located in the fenced off section in the southern half of the island and is currently being restored as a prairie habitat.  Hank Jatz 2011


Pullman History Site, https://www.pullman-museum.org/
California Zephyr  51 hours 20 minutes https://www.amtrak.com/california-zephyr-train

via Omaha  day 2-3 Denver 18 hours leave 2pm arrive 7:15 am next day [overnight on train]
Denver Google Map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.0004980c74e21dd9d9eda&z=15

Denver Letters 1886-1890  denver.htm    Pike's Peak 1883 pikespeak.htm
  St James 1886            Windsor 1890

San Francisco Aug 1883 Well, I have been to the top of  Pike's Peak, and I am not sorry for it.  It was the grandest sight I ever saw.  Had I known what a journey it was I should never dared attempt it - but I started thinking it was about four or five miles, but when I had been traveling about an hour up the narrow path, so narrow in some places that two horses could not pass each other - I asked the guide how far it was, and he told me it was 13 miles from the place where we mounted the horses. The ascent takes about five hours, and the descent about three hours - the trail is over rocks, streams, hill and valleys. It was very cold and snow fell while we were there ... a start has been made to have a railroad built up.  I suppose the endless chain is the kind intended but it will cost an awful amount of money to complete it. 

Denver Aug 1890 I received a note from Miss Nellie McTerney of Chicago -- who is visiting as aunt -- Mrs. D. MacKenzie in Boulder  30 miles from here -- inviting me to pay them a visit there -- As I do not play again this week after to-night, I am going to take a 7:45 train to-morrow morning and go see them.

Denver: how many days with side trips?    She also went to Boulder
Pike’s Peak via Cog railway 3 hours 10 minutes round trip
http://www.cograilway.com/  $33  all year

Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden CO http://coloradorailroadmuseum.org/   15 acre railyard, over 100 steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses.

Georgetown Loop Railroad, 45 miles west of Denver https://www.georgetownlooprr.com/   Completed 1884 narrow gauge   history

Buffalo Bill Museum http://www.buffalobill.org/About%20the%20Buffalo%20Bill%20Museum/index.html#HISTORY   Thanks to Leah Greenwald for her suggestions for this part of the trip.  Buffalo Bill was not included in the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition which enabled him to set up shop just outside the Fair and not pay royalties -- a serious financial miscalculation on the part of Fair organizers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill_Cody#Buffalo_Bill.27s_Wild_West_Show

July 1886 West of the Rockies “Came through Grand Canyon and Royal Gorge by daylight.  Over Marshall Pass by Starlight - and over the Mountain Peaks we could look down on the Stars in the distant firmament.  It was a lovely sight.”

Royal Gorge Colorado train
117 miles from Denver 46 miles Colorado Springs Cañon City CO  $33, lunch $65
Daily May 29-Oct 31 ”The Grand Canyon of the Arkansas river, known as the Royal Gorge was one of the highlight of the routes of the Rockies”

Denver and Rio Grande http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denver_and_Rio_Grande_Western_Railroad
Union Pacific http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Pacific_Railroad

Chicago July 1886 I hear we go by way of Denver over the Rio Grande road to Salt Lake returning Union Pacific. I am sorry we go over the Rio Grande -- it is an awfully fright road -- narrow gauge and such high Mountains to climb over!" 

Sept 1886 Denver “an observation car was put on at the back of the train on which a great many passengers and nearly all our company took seats to view the “Black Canyon

Black Canyon
1886 Denver
On Saturday morning we had a very narrow escape from an accident, about two miles from the scene of our accident three years ago. Then five people were injured and one car wrecked. This time no one was injured except one man who nervously jumped from the “Observation car” amongst the rocks, but two cars were wrecked. ... At  6 AM we stopped to breakfast. It was very cold – an observation car was put on at the back of the train on which a great many passengers and nearly all our company took seats to view the “Black Canyon

Black Canyon Narrow gauge railroad through the Black Canyon http://www.nps.gov/blca/historyculture/railroad.htm Scheduled passenger traffic diverted 1940, rails torn up 1949. http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/black-canyon-national-park-ga2.htm   http://www.legendsofamerica.com/co-blackcanyon.html  250 miles southwest of Denver.   Nearest town seems to be Gunnison CO. No public transportation, worth a detour?  Much of the Black Canyon now seems to be underwater.

Marshall Pass nearest town seems to be Gunnison CO. History  http://www.continental-divide.net/marshall-pass-colorado.htm

Train Wrecks

Salt Lake City 2 days, 1-2 nights
Salt Lake City Google Map

Salt Lake City Letters 1886-1896

  Walker House 1886    Cullen 1888, 1890  Knutsford Hotel 1896

from Denver 15 hours 8:05 am arrive 11:05 pm
Salt Lake Sept 1886 Went this morning by invitation of the Mormons to hear the big organ in the Tabernacle. It is fine! 
Sept 1896 The Mormon Temple is finished and has been "consecrated and dedicated".  Now no one but a baptised Mormon can enter the building.  They consider it "The Holy of Holies".  It looks very handsome from the outside. 

Sept 1888  Today have been to the Lake by special train. The lake was lovely. The bathing accommodations are much improved since I was there four years ago. {Salt Lake is 15-20 miles outside the city.  Where did the train go to?]

Chicago  1896 on Monday night 7:30 I settled with Gustave Frohman (for Chas Frohman) for next season.  Beginning in San Francisco August 17th.  Leave here on Sunday August 9th, due in "Frisco on Wednesday and rest there until Monday 17th when we open at Baldwin Theatre for 2 weeks.  Travel down the coast and up as far as San Diego and back up as far as British Columbia.  Play in Victoria and Vancouver.  Then back over the old road to Salt Lake, Denver &c until we reach Phila to play there four weeks

Railroads in Utah, Don Strack, Utah History Encyclopedia  "The Union Pacific was the first of the major railroad companies to successfully build within Utah's borders, connecting with the Central Pacific tracks at Promontory in 1869. Twenty years later, Union Pacific had become the largest railroad company in the territory. In 1889 the Union Pacific consolidated the control of its interests in Utah and Idaho through the organization of the Oregon Short Line and Utah Northern Railway. In 1893, however, Union Pacific was forced into bankruptcy along with its subsidiary railroad companies. The Oregon Short Line emerged from bankruptcy in 1897 as an independent company, and the reorganized Union Pacific emerged from bankruptcy in 1898. ... The Union Pacific lines west from Evanston, Wyoming, down Weber Canyon to Ogden follow the original Union Pacific route into Utah. The Oregon Short Line routes in Utah included the Union Pacific lines between Salt Lake City and Ogden, as well as the lines north of Ogden. ... The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway completed its narrow-gauge line between Colorado and Salt Lake City in March 1883; it was extended to Ogden two months later. The company was reorganized in 1889 as the Rio Grande Western Railway to enable it to finance the conversion of its line from narrow gauge to standard gauge. ...The streetcar lines in Salt Lake City were by far the most extensive in the state, beginning with those of the Salt Lake City Railroad in 1872 and the Salt Lake Rapid Transit Company in 1890. These two companies built a large network of streetcar lines throughout the city and outlying area. Other companies also were organized in the 1890s and built lines into other parts of the city. https://historytogo.utah.gov/railroads-utah/

July 2011 Asked Utah State History if they could tell me where the "special train" to the Lake might have gone to and from and they were very helpful.

San Francisco [overnight on train] from Salt Lake City 19 hours. 11:30pm arrive 5:30pm  2 days 
San Francisco Google Map

San Francisco Letters 1883-1896

Yosemite by train https://www.amtrak.com/san-joaquins/yosemite-national-park

1890 Stockton Yosemite House hotels.htm#yosemite

Sacramento EJ Phillips wrote in 1898 to Albert who was in San Francisco en route to Honolulu for the Spanish American War "Sacramento you will not like. it is flat and hot, as flat as F'cisco is hilly. .. Sacramento is six hours from "Frisco and is not worth spending money to see.  I drove with Shimer College friend Miriam Cantor and her husband Phil to Sacramento in June 2012.
Old Sacramento, along the Sacramento River http://oldsacramento.com/ with downloadable map 

Portland [overnight on train] from San Francisco 18 hours leave 9:25 pm arrive 3:40 pm next day
Portland Google Map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.00049a10a8b07de1f2289&z=19
Portland Letters 1890 1896   portland.htm
  Portland 1890

June 1890 Portland Arrived this Morning three hours later than schedule time, but all the better for the delay gave me an opportunity to see some beautiful scenery, which we should have missed had we been on time. 

July 1890 We passed through some grand scenery coming here {San Francisco] from Portland,  the Railroad being built over very high mountains and the curves of the road are wonderful, going over high bridges, through tunnels.  At times you can see the road you have come over two or three times, in curves crossing above and below each other, like a true lover's knot.  The road runs with the Sacramento River, a beautiful stream and a great place for fancy fishing

Sept 1896 Portland On Saturday by boat to Vancouver, back by boat to Seattle for Monday and Tuesday next -- and from there to Salt Lake another two nights on train.  From there to Kansas City which will take two, if not three on train

Seattle From Portland 4 ½ hours I traveled by Bolt Bus from Vancouver to Portland, via Seattle in June 2014, but didn't stop to see the city.
Seattle Google Map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.0004995fcfeaa635fda58&z=16
Seattle and Tacoma are 33 miles apart and the Coast Starlight train stops at Tacoma. Is an Indian Reservation still there?
Seattle Letters 1890 1896  portland.htm#seattle
Rainier 1890      Occidental 1896   Tacoma 1890

Tacoma June 1890 I shall try to see something of the place tomorrow. They have street cars here worked by electricity.  I shall see what I can through a side on these. There is a large Indian Reservation here that I hope to visit before leaving.

Seattle Sept 1896 Had a foggy trip through Georgian Bay and Puget Sound.  All the beautiful views of the scenery were lost.  We have had fog ever since we reached Portland.  We leave here at  4 AM for Portland, remain there for seven hours and then start for Salt Lake.  Two nights or rather three, counting tonight on the train.  I do not think the trains are as tiresome as the boat.  We had to take three to get here from Vancouver, B.C. and all were propellers. 

Vancouver  From Seattle 4 hours Flew into Vancouver from Boston, via Toronto in June 2014. 
Vancouver Google Map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=202426891661796490166.00049a2cc21fb3fb8d5a7&ll=49.282819,-123.118662&spn=0.003625,0.0103&z=17

Vancouver Letters 1896


Seattle/Victoria Vancouver travel including ferries http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60878-c2598/Seattle:Washington:Trips.To.Victoria.Bc.And.Vancouver..html

Sept 1896 [Salt Lake] On Sunday Morning in Vancouver, BC Mr. [Daniel] Frohman invited me with three others of the company to take a drive in Forest Park, and a more beautiful drive I never enjoyed.  The grand old trees & the water views were beautiful. 
Forest Park seems likely to be Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Los Angeles from Seattle
Los Angeles Google Map

Los Angeles letters 1888-1896
Hotel Nadeau 1888, 1890  "Practically fire- proof"     Hotel Ramona 1896

Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia CA is about 17 miles east of Los Angeles and across from the Santa Anita Race Track . http://www.arboretum.org/index.php/ 9-4:30
This was the home of EJ "Lucky" Baldwin, owner of the Baldwin Hotel and Theatre in San Francisco .  See EJ Phillips' descriptions of driving a horse with Mrs. Baldwin in 1890.
 Elias Jackson (“Lucky”) Baldwin, homespun Yankee capitalist, in 1875 paid a fantastic $200,000 ($25 an acre) for Rancho Santa Anita. Queen Anne cottage built for the fourth Mrs. Baldwin in 1885, Santa Anita Depot [reconstructed to 1890 appearance]; Coach Barn c 1879 Baldwin's stylish "Tally Ho" carriage, purchased at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, is today on display in the enlarged west room and Hugo Reid Adobe house. Historic Structures  http://www.arboretum.org/index.php/explore/historic_structures/ 
"Lucky" Baldwin

Coast Starlight https://www.amtrak.com/coast-starlight-train

Took this from Portland to San Jose in June 2014.

Pacific Surfliner  San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara Los Angeles https://www.amtrak.com/pacific-surfliner-train  I've taken this from San Diego to Los Angeles

Nevada Aug 1888 Pretty warm day in this Alkali Desert, but not as hot as I have sometimes experienced it.  Last night I slept splendidly. Did not know when we arrived or left Ogden [Utah]

Los Angeles Sept 1888 Yesterday morning when we left San Francisco the weather was delightfully cool and our journey was pleasant up to 3 PM when we got into hot weather and dust, and we have had it hot ever since.  The journey was very uninteresting  - a repetition of the Prairie from Omaha to California.  We passed through as great deal of the Alkali [desert] too, this morning. 

1888 August San Francisco Leaving Los Angeles Sunday morning, we do not reach Salt Lake  until Wednesday noon.  Three nights on the train

Los Angeles to Chicago Southwest Chief [2 overnights on train]  departs 6:15 pm arrives 2 days later 3:15 pm 43 hours https://www.amtrak.com/southwest-chief-train
The return trip would be fun, but is not as relevant.

Day 18  Grand Canyon Railway https://www.thetrain.com/
depart  Williams Arizona 9:15arr 11 45 Grand canyon leave 3:30 arrive Williams 5:45 But the Grand Canyon she refers to seems to be in Colorado. 

Days 19-20 Through Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Kansas City  Letters kansascity.htm  Kansas City Google Map in progress
  Coates House 1888         New Coates 1896

Where was the alkali desert she refers to on train trips between San Francisco and Los Angeles?

California Zephyr goes through Green River Utah  EJ P went through Green River Wyoming?
Amtrak train passes https://www.amtrak.com/rail-passes 15 days/8 segments $459 , 30 days/12 segments $689  45 days/ 18 segments &899

does not include Canada or buses?  Roomettes  cost?  and include meals  5 nights total

Reading list
What goes on this list in addition to Mrs. Frank Leslie, California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate, April, May, June, 1877 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/calbk.115  and the plays EJ Phillips was in -- or went to -- a number are in Google books  

Ambrose, Stephen E., Nothing Like It in the  World: The Men who built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Deverell, William, Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad 1850-1910, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
Kessner, Thomas,  "The Rottenness in New York" in  Capital City: New York City and the Men Behind America's Rise to Economic Dominance, 1860- 1900, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003

Reinhardt, Richard Out West on the Overland train: Across the Continent Excursion with Leslie's Magazine in 1877 and the Overland Trip in 1967, American West Publishing Co 1967
Tourist Trains Guidebook, Kalmbach Books 3rd edition 2011 
Trains Magazine, Kalmbach Publishing http://trn.trains.com/tags/kalmbach
White, Richard, Railroaded: Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, WW Norton, 2011 https://www.amazon.com/Railroaded-Transcontinentals-Making-Modern-America/dp/0393342379

Amtrak routes https://www.amtrak.com/routes.html   Click on National Routes Map PDF  https://www.amtrak.com/plan-your-trip.html
Building the Transcontinental Railroad, American Memory, Library of Congress  http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/riseind/railroad/trans.html
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History  http://cprr.org/Museum/index.html 
Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden CO  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_Railroad_Museum  Has  1890 coal burning Denver & Rio Grande locomotive, replica of 1880s style depot.

ENGLISH AND AMERICAN RAILWAYS, Harper's Monthly—1894 http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=scri;cc=;view=toc;subview=short;idno=scri0016-4
Grand Canyon Railway, Williams Arizona 
Harpers Weekly American West  http://thewest.harpweek.com/
Heritage Railroads in the United States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heritage_railroads_in_the_United_States
Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitou_and_Pike%27s_Peak_Railway  6-8 trains per day mid-May through Mid Sept. Off peak months trains vary. Jan weekends and holidays once a day.
Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1885  http://www.archive.org/details/poorsmanualofrai18newyuoft
Railroad Station Historical Society http://www.rrshs.org/RSHSindex/index.html 
Royal Gorge History https://royalgorgeroute.com/about-us/history/
Royal Gorge Route Railroad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Gorge_Route_Railroad
Time Lines of US Railway History, Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_railway_history accessed July 8, 2005
Trains and Railroads of the Past
Union Pacific Historical Society http://www.uphs.org/   Bibliography http://www.uphs.org/libspec.htm  


Thanks to historian and attorney William G Crawford, author of Florida's Big Dig http://www.floridasbigdig.com/   for telling me about Poor's Manual and discussing the importance of railroads and their directors in Gilded Age history.

Music for the trip? Not a necessity, unlike reading material, but would be fun.  Obvious listening choices are Gilbert & SullivanPatience is particularly relevant.
Baseball Americana: Baseball's Greatest Hits, Mark Hartsell 2018 https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2018/05/baseball-americana-baseballs-greatest-hits/
Buffalo Souvenir Music 1894-1906, Electric City Publishing, 2001 http://www.electriccitypublishing.com/
Music published in America 1870-1885 http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/smessay0.html
Themes in popular songs http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/smessay3.html includes links to railroad, telegraph, electric light, bicycles, newspapers and fire departments http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/smessay3.html

While I've made one overnight train trip in the US [Portland to San Jose California], I have traveled by train from London to Athens, London to Moscow [via Berlin, Warsaw, and Kiev] and back, as well as shorter trips from London to Venice and Rome, and Florence to London.

Last updated August 31, 2020

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