Mesa Verde Breakfast Menu

We’ve already seen a 1941 dinner menu with this cover. Today’s menu, which is dated July 12, 1940, has a similar, but not quite identical, menu as yesterday’s breakfast menu.

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

Unlike the somewhat hokey legend that appeared on yesterday’s menu, the back cover of the Mesa Verde menu has a believable, if slightly romanticized, description of the discovery of the famous cliff dwellings. The Rio Grande had something of a monopoly, at least among the railroads, on access to Mesa Verde National Park.

Glenwood Springs Breakfast Menu

This handsome menu has a beautiful color cover that is unfortunately paired with an incomprehensible and unlikely Indian legend on the back. A date printed on the inside is August 12, 1938.

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

The a la carte side offered trout for breakfast for 90 cents–almost $16 in today’s money–as well as calf’s liver, lamb chops, and a variety of other items for slightly lower prices. For just 85 cents, the most expensive full breakfast on the table d’hôte side provided a choice of griddle cakes with bacon or egg with corned beef hash, bacon, or ham. The full breakfast also came with fruit, cereal, bread, and a beverage.

More Western Pacific Menus

These menus are from the California Railroad Museum, which posted them at archive.org as individual pages. All I’ve done is assemble them into PDFs. Those that are dated range from 1915 to 1927, but some probably fall outside that range.

Click image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

The front and back of this 1915 lunch menu features sublime watercolors by Marion De Lappe. Born Marion Owens in 1888 in San Francisco, she became an artist and married another artist named Wesley De Lappe. She later changed her name to Frances Marion, under which byline she earned a fortune and two Oscars as a Hollywood script writer. The back of the menu has an ode to the “Golden Feather River” that might have been written by De Lappe but more likely was written by a WP marketing agent. Continue reading

Western Pacific Cable Car Menu

I’ve shown this menu cover before in a post about the Exposition Flyer. But that was a low-resolution scan taken from another web site. This one is higher resolution and, unlike the other menu, it was never used so it is in better condition. However, that also means the interior is blank whereas the other one had a 1946 lunch menu.

Click image to download a 918-KB PDF of this menu.

This menu also doesn’t have the words “Exposition Flyer” across the cover. The back cover quotes a book, Cable Car Days of San Francisco, that was published in 1944, so this cover cannot have been much older than the one previously shown here. No matter when it was published, I love the colors and the front cover design that simultaneously evokes a sunset and one of the turntables used to turn the Powell Street cable cars at each end of their journeys.

Colorado’s Highest Mountains

I’m pretty sure the cover of this menu depicts Mt. Massive, as seen from Leadville, Colorado. It’s either that or Mt. Elbert, which is a little to the south of Mt. Massive. The back cover says Elbert is Colorado’s second-highest mountain with Massive being the highest. Today, geographers say it’s the other way around, with Massive being 12 feet lower than Elbert.

Click on image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

The table d’hôte menu has eight different entrées: trout, white fish, ox tongue, club steak, lamb chops, omelet, prime rib, and sirloin steak, all of which come with soup, vegetable, salad, bread, and beverage. There is also a lengthy a la carte side. An a la carte salmon steak was 75 cents, while an a la carte sirloin steak was twice as much. For just 25 cents more the sirloin steak could be had as a complete meal. Multiply by 17 to get today’s dollars.

Western Pacific 1938 Breakfast Menu

The back cover of this menu describes the lands between Salt Lake City and the Sierra Nevada as “the Western Garden of Allah.” Whether this was inspired by the Rock Island Railroad’s Garden of Allah book, or the 1936 movie starring Marlene Dietrick and Charles Boyer, I suspect that even people living in Arabia wouldn’t consider this desolate area to be much of a paradise.

Click on image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

Inside, the menu offers sirloin steak, lamb chops, and ham, along with the usual eggs, wheat cakes, and cereals for breakfast. The opposite side of the menu offers a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, many of which were supposed to be hangover cures. Someone has helpfully handwritten “April 13, ’38” on the interior, and presumably that is the date the menu was used on a Western Pacific train.

Rio Grande Postcards

Here are five postcards from two different eras featuring the Denver & Rio Grande railroads. The first three were printed in Germany, which dates them to before World War I.

Click any image to download a PDF of that postcard.

Though issued by the Colorado New Company, each card prominently notes that the featured scene is on the “D&RG RR,” suggesting that they were issued with the cooperation of the railroad. The railroad probably gave the Colorado New Company license to sell the cards in Rio Grande train stations and on board trains. Continue reading

Scenic West

Issued by Curt Teich, this folder contains about 22 color lithographs (including two on the covers), half of which show the Rio Grande portion of the route and the other half the Western Pacific. The quality of the images is somewhat higher than in yesterday’s folder, which was issued by the Interstate Co.


Click image to download a 6.1-MB PDF of this folder.

There’s no date on the folder, but one of the photos matches a Curt Teich postcard, shown below, that was issued (according to the card number) in 1938. The folder must have been issued before 1939 or it would have featured the Exposition Flyer. Continue reading

The James Peak Route

This postcard folder must have been issued shortly after 1934, when the Dotsero Cutoff allowed trains through the Moffat Tunnel to connect to Rio Grande tracks to Grand Junction and Salt Lake City. Soon after that year, the Rio Grande advertised that it had two routes across the Rockies, the Moffat Tunnel and the Royal Gorge routes. But this folder refers to the former as the James Peak route, after the mountain through which the Moffat Tunnel was bored.


Click image to download a 9.3-MB PDF of this folder.

The folder contains 20 color lithographs. Like other postcard folders, I present this in three pages so as to show all of the cover as well as the pictures.

Midland Terminal Railway Postcard Brochure

This brochure with six color and four black-and-white photos advertises the Midland Terminal Railway, as distinct from the Midland Terminal Railroad. The latter began operating from Colorado City (annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917) to Cripple Creek in 1895. It went out of business in 1918 and its assets were taken over by the Midland Terminal Railway in 1919.

Click image to download a 3.9-MB PDF of this twelve-panel brochure.

The Midland Terminal Railway operated passenger trains until 1931, so this brochure must be from somewhere between 1919 and 1931.