Choice of Routes to California

If the Rock Island’s claim of being the best road to Yellowstone was shaky, it at least had a viable claim to be a good route to California. This 1927 brochure advertises that people can take either the Golden State route–Rock Island to Tucumcari, NM, and Southern Pacific from there–or the Colorado Scenic Route–Rock Island to Colorado Springs, Rio Grande to Salt Lake City, and Western Pacific to Oakland.


Click image to download a 4.2-MB PDF of this brochure.

In addition to the Golden State Limited, the brochure advertises the Apache, the Californian, and the Memphis-Californian over the Golden State Route. Indeed, Rock island could say it was the only railroad that could get people deep into the West from Chicago, St. Louis, or Memphis. The Colorado Scenic Route offered travelers the choice of the Colorado Limited, the Rocky Mountain Limited, and the Colorado Flyer.


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

The above brochure, which I found on the Kansas History Society web site, shows maps of all these routes. The History Society dates it to 1870 to 1900, but that’s clearly wrong. For one thing, the Golden State Limited, which is mentioned in the brochure, didn’t begin operating until 1902. Further, both of the above brochures list L. M. Allen as Rock Island’s Passenger Traffic Manager, and it seems unlikely that anyone holding that job in 1900 would still have it in 1927.

The flyer’s reference to “California Expositions”–note the plural–suggests it is from 1915, when the San Francisco Bay Area hosted the Panama-Pacific Expo and San Diego hosted the Panama-California Expo.


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