From the Car Window

Although this along-the-way booklet is undated, it was published soon after the 1926 Columbia River Historical Expedition, as the centerfold map shows both a “modern map of the Northwest” and a “historic map of the Northwest.” These are the same maps shown in the Scenic Northwest advertising booklet from about 1931.

Click image to download a 31.3-MB PDF of this 52-page booklet.

This booklet is from before 1931, however, as it mentions that the Cascade Tunnel will be “completed in the latter part of 1928.” The tunnel actually didn’t open until 1929. Thus, this booklet is probably from 1927, before the railroad was aware that the tunnel would be delayed past the end of the 1928-1929 winter season. Two decades later, GN would publish a similarly titled booklet to go with the streamlined Empire Builder. Continue reading

Before It Opened: Prince of Wales Hotel

The last major Glacier Park-area hotel built by the Great Northern, the Prince of Wales Hotel in Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park was built partly to allow American tourists to legally imbibe in alcoholic beverages during the prohibition era. Louis Hill himself–who loved his alcoholic drinks–picked the hotel’s location and strongly influenced the building’s design based on lodges he had seen in Switzerland.

Click image to download a 5.9-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

The hotel was not yet completed when this booklet was published advertising the lodge’s 1927 opening season, so all of the illustration’s are an artist’s conceptions of what the hotel would look like. According to the booklet, rooms–all of which had baths–cost $8 to $12 per person and meals were $1.25 for breakfast and lunch and $1.50 for dinner. The booklet doesn’t say, but presumably these are American dollars; multiply by 14 to get today’s dollars.

Upper Missouri Expedition Stationery

The invitation to the Upper Missouri Historical Expedition featured an embossed gold seal holding a string of leather with Indian beads. An image of this is shown on the letterhead of on-board stationery provided to expedition members.

Click image to download a 160-KB PDF of this letterhead.

The matching envelope, below, didn’t include this logo but did have the superfluous words, “Stationery for your personal use on this trip.” I photographed both of these items at the Minnesota History Center. Continue reading

Upper Missouri Expedition Library List

Participants in Great Northern’s 1925 Upper Missouri Historical Expedition were able to call upon a library of more than 100 books and other publications. These ranged from articles in various history society journals to the edited journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (in 15 volumes).

Click image to download a 2.0-MB PDF of this 12-page booklet.

I photographed this booklet at the Minnesota History Center, which doesn’t allow scanners so there may be some distortions. The booklet lists about 16 to 19 publications per page, leaving several pages of white (or in this case brown) space as befits a first-class publication as this one.

Upper Missouri Historical Expedition Invitation

I’ve previously shown an invitation to participate in Great Northern’s 1925 Upper Missouri Historical Expedition, but that came from another web site. Since then, I’ve acquired this one. It’s in pretty good shape, but the foil seal has been discolored from acids in the leather strip used to hold Indian beads in the lower right corner.

Click image to download a 3.1-MB PDF of this poster-sized invitation.

At 13 inches by 20 inches, these invitations are huge. They weren’t folded, so Great Northern must have found some gigantic envelopes to mail them to potential travelers.

The Oriental and Captain Palmer

I previously presented this little booklet based on photos I took of one in the Minnesota History Center. Now I’ve acquired one of my own. The history center had several copies, one hardbound in orange, one softbound in tan, and one bound in an elegant black tissue with gold flecks. Mine is in red tissue with gold flecks, with the cover title plate glued on.

Click image to download a 5.3-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

As I explained previously, the booklet was written by (though not credited to) Grace Flandrau and used as a Christmas Card by the GN in 1924. It’s focus on a sailing ship called the Oriental was a subtle plug for Great Northern’s Oriental Limited, which the railway had completely re-equipped in 1924.

Two Guns White Calf Dinner Menu

The black-and-white photograph on which the colorized image on this menu was based was taken by Thomas Magee, a postmaster in Browning, Montana who was married to a Blackfeet woman. As previously noted here, Great Northern publicists claimed that Two Guns White Calf was the model for the face on the Indian head nickel, but that almost certainly wasn’t true.

Click image to download a 2.9-MB PDF of this menu.

Dated August, 1925, this dinner menu offers chicken pot pie or a baked ham dinner, each for 75 cents (about $11 today). There is also a fish dinner and a vegetable dinner, but the chicken pot pie and ham are illustrated by colorful graphics that — at least in the case of the ham — almost certainly do not reflect what would be served to diners. Continue reading

1923 Trick Falls Menu

The left side of this menu’s interior has beverages while the right side has a la carte. The menu doesn’t make clear whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; it offers eggs and omelets, suggesting breakfast; but also salads, suggesting lunch or dinner. In addition to a sirloin steak for $1 (multiply by 15 to get today’s prices), it offers half a spring chicken for 90 cent, two lamb chops for 70 cents, and a variety of other meats, vegetables, desserts, and so forth. The only fish are finnan haddie and sardines.

Click image to download a 1.7-MB PDF of this menu.

Trick Falls is near Two Medicine Lake, and the trick isn’t well displayed in this photo. The trick is that only a small amount of water normally flows over the top of the falls; most of it comes out of a tunnel about two-thirds of the way down, which tunnel is apparently fed by a sink hole in the stream above. Although the menu doesn’t say so, the cover photo was taken by T.J. Hileman, a Kalispell photographer who became Great Northern’s official photographer in 1924. Continue reading

Bear Grass Breakfast Menu

The cover of this menu calls the flowers pictured in the foreground “Indian basket grass” because the Indians used to weave the leaves into baskets. While that’s a valid name, the more common name is bear grass, while the scientific name is Xerophyllum tenax.

Click image to download a 2.3-MB PDF of this menu.

This menu is undated but Great Northern began using the mountain goat logo in 1921, so the menu is likely from 1920 or earlier. Although the railway probably used menus like this in its dining cars, this particular one was used in the Many Glacier Hotel, which first opened in 1915. The menu offered mackerel, breakfast steak, eggs, or omelets, among other things. The menu is unpriced so it must be for guests on the American plan. Continue reading

Rail Guide to Italy

In the 1950s, Italian stylists were capturing worldwide attention with their designs, and the train on the cover of this booklet is one of the results. Called the ETR (for electric train rapid) 300 and nicknamed the Settebello, or Beautiful Seven, the seven-car train was electrically powered and capable of speeds of around 100 miles per hour. With the engineer in the turret, a dozen or so passengers got to have front-row seats as the trains traveled from Milan to Rome.

Click image to download a 6.2-MB PDF of this booklet and map.

Each train consisted of two power cars at either end that each rode on a shared truck in the middle that sandwiched three cars that also shared trucks. The government-owned Italian railroad originally wanted to buy a large fleet of Settebellos, but due to the high cost it ended up buying just three. The railroad did buy a few more trains that consisted of just the power cars, leaving out the three cars in the middle, which were called the ETR 250 or Ariecchino (Harlequin). Continue reading