1935 Summer Tours

“This is THE Year for a Western Vacation,” proclaims this booklet. “Western railway and Pullman fares have never been lower,” it explains, adding that, “thanks to air conditioning” passengers will enjoy “travel comfort such as you have never experienced before.”

Click image to download a 36.2-MB PDF of this booklet.

The booklet was right about the prices, which had dropped by nearly 20 percent since the 1932 summer tours guide. In 1932, a 12-day tour to Yellowstone and the Royal Gorge was $187 ($2,600 in today’s dollars); in 1935 it was just $158 ($2,130 in today’s dollars). A 13-day tour to Southern Utah parks and the Royal Gorge was $220 ($3,075) in 1932; but just $184 ($2,500) in 1935. (All prices are for a single occupant in a lower berth; double occupancy in hotel rooms.)

The 1935 season offered the nine tours included in the 1932 guide (with some alterations) plus a tenth tour to Rocky Mountain National Park. The 1935 booklet also included two variations on the Yellowstone and Yellowstone-Royal Gorge tours that departed Chicago on Sundays instead of Saturdays. The 1935 guide also had two Alaska tours instead of the one tour in the 1932 guide. Finally, tour BC, which must stand for Bargain California as it used tourist sleepers and was the only tour that cost under $10 per day, was also new.

Most of the tours promised air-conditioned diners, lounges, and sleepers. But tour BC used non-air-conditioned tourist sleepers, while the Pacific Northwest tour warned that air-conditioned cars would be used on the westbound journey but probably not on the return trip (which was on the Canadian Pacific/Soo Line).

“Natural color photo” of Yellowstone Canyon from the 1935 Summer Tours booklet.

This guide contains nearly two dozen color photos, most of them labeled “natural color photo” (as opposed to a hand-colored black-and-white photo). I’ve been to many of the places in the photos, and the colors in the natural color photos are often no more accurate than the hand-colored versions. In the Photoshop era, we would say they oversaturated the reds.

My own photo of Yellowstone Canyon taken a few weeks ago. Colors vary depending on lighting conditions, but the booklet’s image of this and other scenes seem to be overly red.

One photo on page 42 shows a large International-style home or other building on the oceanfront in La Jolla, California. The stark white structure with its rectangular shapes presents a sharp contrast to the 1920s-vintage automobile parked on the curb. I can’t find this building on Google maps today, but if it still exists it would be a historic example of this once-influential but ultimately discredited school of architecture.

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