City of Denver Postcard

This postcard illustrates a very unusual car. In 1953, Union Pacific replaced the pre-war City of Denver with modern equipment. Most of the new cars were conventional, with coaches and sleepers easily exchangeable with nearly identical cars on other City trains. But the diners were found only on the City of Denver.


Click image to download a 0.4-MB PDF of this postcard.

Instead of fitting both the kitchen and dining room into one car, UP ordered two twin-unit cars from American Car & Foundry in which one car held a kitchen and dormitory for train crew while the other car consisted solely of a dining room. The room could seat 66 people, far more than an ordinary diner which, with four-across seating, could serve 48 people at one time.

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City of Los Angeles Hoover Dam Menu

We’ve already seen a Hoover Dam menu from 1946 (when UP still called it Boulder Dam), but the photo used on that menu showed numerous automobiles that clearly dated from the 1940s. For this 1968 menu, UP used a new photo that cleverly did not include any automobiles whose styles might soon become outdated.


Click image to download a 1.6-MB PDF of this menu.

The descriptions accompanying the photos have also changed. Where the 1946 menu simply marveled at the “engineering triumph” and “masterpiece of masonry,” the 1968 menu explains further that, before the dam, “the Colorado River was America’s most dangerous and one of its most destructive streams. Now it is a highly useful servant.” Little did UP know that the environmental movement that was then in its infancy would soon persuade much of the public that such dams were desecrators of nature and despoilers of beauty.

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Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon: 1967

Although Union Pacific sold its Sun Valley resort in 1962, it retained ownership of the Utah Parks Company and its lodges and other facilities in Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, and Cedar Breaks until 1972, when it donated the buildings to the National Park Service. Thus, it remained an enthusiastic promoter of the parks as long as it continued to offer passenger service.


Click image to download a 13.2-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

Rather than describe escorted tours that would begin in Chicago or Los Angeles, this booklet focuses on a variety of bus tours for people once they’ve arrived in Cedar City, Utah. Two- to five-day tours cost about $11 per day for food and lodging plus about $5 to $10 per day for the bus transport. This particular booklet must have been for travel agents as each tour notes the commission the agent would earn for selling that tour, ranging from $1.50 for a two-day tour to $5.25 for a five-day tour.

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American Royal Menu

Kansas City has an annual horse show called the American Royal, which is the source of the name of the Burlington train, the American Royal Zephyr. In 1967, the Kansas City Saddle and Sirloin Club sent American Royal Ambassadors to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo via Union Pacific, and this was the July 30 lunch menu served on that trip. The menu offers a choice of Union Pacific’s chef’s salad, French fried shrimp, or tenderloin tips in a vegetable casserole for $3 (about $16.50 today).


Click image to download a 1.5-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu cover shows Mt. Rainier with the appropriately named Reflection Lake in the foreground. The 2011 photo below shows that little has changed in this part of Mt. Rainier National Park.

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1965 Jackson Hole Menu

This menu shows the Chapel of Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park. Unusually for a church, this chapel has a window behind the alter so parishioners can enjoy a view of the Tetons in case the sermon is boring. As Wikipedia notes, the chapel was built in 1925 “to serve guests and employees of the dude ranches that stretched north of Jackson along the base of the Teton Range.”


Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this menu.

Though dated more than a year later, this City of Los Angeles menu’s offerings are very similar to those of the Disneyland menu that appeared here a couple of days ago. Most of the prices have increased by 5 to 15 cents, and one or two a la carte items, such as kadota figs, are off the menu, but other than that, the main change is that menu items that used to be in all-caps are now in upper- and lower-case letters.

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Associated Food Stores Menu

Here’s what appears at first glance to be a Union Pacific menu that may never have been used aboard a train, or even by the railroad. Inside, it says it is for the twenty-fifth anniversary lunch for Associated Food Stores, a retail coop that currently distributes foods to about 500 stores, including some four dozen stores that it owns outright. According to the menu, in 1965 Associated was located at 1812 South Empire Road in Salt Lake City; today it is headquartered just one block away from this address.


Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

So what is Associated’s association with the Union Pacific? The menu cover provides a hint. Being a Utah business, Associated and many of its member stores were no doubt owned by Mormons. While the Union Pacific is not owned by the Mormon Church, no doubt many church members own stock in the company. But it is likely that there was no direct business or religious connection between UP and Associated; instead, Associated may have simply wanted a nice picture of the Mormon Temple on its menu cover, and so somehow borrowed some menu blanks from the railroad.

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Union Pacific to Disneyland

This 1964 breakfast menu for the City of Los Angeles features Disneyland’s Main Street, which is the second thing visitors would see after entering the park. UP wouldn’t want to include the first thing they would see: the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railway, the train around the park that was co-branded by UP competitor Santa Fe. Unstated on the menu is the then-little-known fact that Walt Disney himself had an apartment above the firehouse, the building in the center of this photo, where he often stayed to watch the operation of his park.


Click image to download a 2.0-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu itself has seven complete breakfasts and many of those come with several options. “Ham, bacon, or sausage with one egg or minced ham with scrambled eggs.” “Two eggs, boiled, fried, scrambled, or shirred.” “Roast beef hash or corned beef hash with poached egg.” All of the breakfasts came with fruit, juice, or cereal, toast or muffins and jam, and a beverage.

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UP 1964 Timetable

As the Union Pacific dropped its secondary trains, it had to add stops to the top-of-the-line streamliners to provide service to smaller communities that the streamliners had originally by-passed. For example, in 1937, the City of Portland made just twelve stops on its 39-3/4-hour journey from Chicago to Portland, while passengers from other cities along the route could take the Portland Rose or Pacific Limited. By 1958, the Pacific Limited was off the timetable and the Portland Rose rerouted to Portland-St. Louis, so the City of Portland was scheduled to make as many as 27 stops (many of them flag stops) between Chicago and Portland, adding an hour to its scheduled time.


Click image to download a 30.2-MB PDF of this timetable.

In 1959, however, UP combined the City of Portland with the City of Denver, forcing the westbound train to travel south from Julesberg to Denver and then north again to Laramie. This added nearly three hours to the City of Portland‘s schedule.

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UP Ticket Envelope

Passengers who rode UP streamliners and domeliners in the late 1950s or early 1960s might have received their tickets in an envelope such as this one. The flap below the window advertises Grand Canyon National Park; similar envelopes featured Yellowstone, San Valley, and other scenic destinations reached by the UP.


Click image to download a 0.5-MB PDF of this envelope.

Exposition Park Menu

This menu cover features the rose garden at Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. Other parts of the 160-acre park include the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a natural history museum, and (since this menu was printed), an African-American museum, and a science center that displays, among other things, a Douglas DC-8 and the space shuttle Endeavor.


Click image to download a 1.5-MB PDF of this menu.

The rose garden, fountain, and University of Southern California bell tower shown in this photo all still exist. However, the trees in the middle ground have grown so that today, from where this photo was taken, only the top of the bell tower remains visible.

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