1955 MacArthur Park Lunch Menu

This menu was issued February 10, 1955, for the City of St. Louis, but someone has pencilled “3-28-1955” on it, suggesting that it was actually used on that date. The menu has four main entrées: chef’s salad, filet of sole, corned beef hash, and Spanish omelet, plus plenty of a la carte items including the broiled club steak which, at $2.50 (about $18 today) is the most expensive thing on the menu.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

The cover photo shows MacArthur Park, which was created as Westlake Park in 1880 and renamed for General Douglas MacArthur in 1942. The 1926 Westlake Theater, whose large sign is visible in the photo, still exists along with the sign, although it hasn’t been used as a theater in nearly 25 years. Wilshire Boulevard was built across the park in the early 1930s despite major protests and a lawsuit that went to the state supreme court. In a couple of weeks, we’ll see a later UP menu that shows the same scene from the other side of the park.

1953 Portland/Mt. Hood Dinner Menu

We’ve seen this menu cover before on a 1954 breakfast menu, but so long as the interior menu is different, I’ll consider this a different menu. Like the menus shown in the last two days, this one is dated July 27, 1953.


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

Inside the menu is much like yesterday’s, with a wine-and-liquor list on the left and table d’hôte on the right. Some of the entrées are different: Chinook salmon instead of trout; lamb chops instead of Vienna schnitzel; and half a chicken instead of prime rib.

1953 Rose Garden Dinner Menu

We’ve seen this menu before in a 1960 edition, which is a surprise considering that the hairstyles in the photo would have been dated by then. But they look perfectly appropriate for 1953.


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

Inside, instead of including an a la carte menu, the left-hand page has a wine-and-liquor list including well over a dozen imported and American wines, several kinds of beer, and a variety of Scotch, bourbon, rye, and other liquors. The right side has a table d’hôte menu featuring trout, Vienna schnitzel, prime rib, cold meats, and UP’s special charcoal broiled steak, available in regular for $4.50 (about $40 today) or “extra thick” for $5.50 (about $50 today). Patrons wishing a la carte items were no doubt directed to the City of Portland‘s cafe car.

1953 Willamette River Breakfast Menu

The caption on this rather boring photo of Oregon’s Willamette River says it shows the “Oregon Yacht Club” in Portland. That’s less impressive than it sounds, as the so-called Oregon Yacht Club is neither a club nor does it have yachts. Instead, it is more of a homeowners’ association for a collection of houseboat slips near Oaks Bottom just north of the Sellwood Bridge. The club currently has one vacant houseboat space that you can buy for a mere $525,000 plus a $545 monthly “commons fee” (including garbage and sewer), prices that pretty much eliminate any cost advantage of living on a houseboat.


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

The menu itself is dated July 27, 1953 and has an extensive list of meals and a la carte items. Entrées include broiled fresh fish, kippered herring, lamb chops, roast beef hash, and the usual combinations of ham or bacon and eggs. I acquired this menu recently so it wasn’t on the UP menu checklist that I posted on August 1. You can download an updated checklist here.

1953 Challenger Inn Lunch Menu

This menu has the same cover as the one from a couple of days ago. Inside, however, it is dated May 11, 1953, five months after the previous ones. It still has the same budget-menu format, but the prices have gone up.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

The entrées are corned beef hash with string beans, “special cold plate” with Mexican slaw, and Hungarian goulash or fish with potatoes and string beans. Where in December these items would have been priced at 75 cents, 85 cents, and $1.25, now they are 85 cents, 95 cents, and $1.40. That’s about $6.25, $7.00, and $10.25 in today’s dollars.

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1952 Washington State College Menu

This is the last of my budget-priced menus dated December 1, 1952. Known as Washington Agricultural College from 1890 to 1905 and as Washington State University after 1959, the menu says that, at 5,000 students, WSC was “the largest resident college in the West” in 1952. Today, the Pullman campus has nearly 17,000 students and the major universities in all western states have more than 12,000 students.


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

This menu is a little different, with spaghetti “Italienne” (is there any other kind) and meat balls with green peas for $1, fish with mashed potatoes and peas for $1.25, fried chicken and potatoes and peas for $1.75, and the standard steak dinner for $2.50.

1952 Challenger Inn Dinner Menu

Here’s a budget-priced menu featuring Sun Valley’s Challenger Inn on the cover. The interior menu is identical to yesterday’s Bryce Canyon dinner menu.


Click image to download a 1.1-MB PDF of this menu.

While the low prices on these budget menus are certainly attractive, the limited selections are not. City of Los Angeles passengers used to real mashed potatoes would be disappointed by the whipped potatoes used in the dining cars represented by these menus. Was this a short-term experiment applied to all Union Pacific trains or just the budget trains like the Challenger?

1952 Bryce Canyon Menus

Here are two more budget-priced menus, one for lunch and one for dinner, both featuring Bryce Canyon on the cover. The lunch menu has the same offerings as the one with the Salt Lake City temple on the cover.


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

The dinner menu offers short ribs of beef with vegetables for $1 (about $7.50 today), fish with whipped potatoes and corn for $1.25 (about $9.25 today), pork chops with whipped potatoes and corn for $1.75 (about $13 today), and the classic charcoal broiled sirloin steak with hash browns and salad for $2.50 (about $18.50 today). The a la carte menu looks identical to the a la carte lunch menu.

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1952 University of Utah Lunch Menu

Here’s another menu in the series of university administration buildings, this one featuring the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Inside, the menu is similar to yesterday’s with one page devoted to the message about budget prices and the other offering a limited selection of meals and a la carte items.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

This time the meals include Boston baked beans & Frankfurter for 75 cents, hot ham sandwich with potatoes and gravy for 85 cents, and veal cutlet or fish with carrots for $1.25. The a la carte items look identical to yesterday’s menu.

1952 Mormon Temple Lunch Menu

Here’s another menu whose cover we’ve seen before in both 1949 and 1965, a range of dates made possible by the lack of potentially unfashionable hair or automobile styles. Like yesterday’s breakfast menu, this one is dated December 1, 1952 and devotes a full page to the message promising budget prices.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

Four entrées are offered with bread and beverage: corned beef hash with string beans, pork hocks with lima beans, and salisbury steak or fish with potatoes and string beans. They cost 75 cents (about $5.50 today), 85 cents (about $6.25 today), and $1.25 (for the fish or steak, about $9.25 today). A few a la carte items are squeezed in such as eggs, beans, salads, and sandwiches.