Vacation Suggestions in the Pacific Northwest

This 1940 booklet that I scanned from the Spokane Public Library Northwest Collection offers pre-war travelers four trips from Chicago to the Northwest. The first takes the Milwaukee to Seattle, a Canadian Pacific liner to Victoria and Vancouver, the Canadian Pacific-Soo Line to Minneapolis, and the Milwaukee back to Chicago. The 14-day trip cost $226 (about $3,000 in today’s dollars), including rail travel, a lower berth, hotels, meals, and local transportation.

Click image to download a 31.3-MB PDF of this 44-page booklet.

Trip 2 went to Seattle, then south to San Francisco on the Shasta Route, a visit to the Golden Gate Expo, the Coast route to Los Angeles, and east to Chicago via the Grand Canyon on the Santa Fe. This 17-day trip cost $252 (about $3,400 today).

Trip 3 was like trip 2 but skipped Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon, heading straight east from San Francisco over the traveler’s choice of the Overland Route or the more scenic Exposition Flyer route. Either way, the 14-day trip cost $215 (about $2,900 today).

Trip 4 went to Gallatin Gateway over the Milwaukee, with a 2-1/2-day bus tour of Yellowstone followed by a trip on the Union Pacific from West Yellowstone to Salt Lake and then the Rio Grande via the Royal Gorge to Denver (with a stop in Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods or Pikes Peak) and then via the Union Pacific and Milwaukee back to Chicago. This 11-day trip cost just $149 (about $2,000 today).

Readers were invited to send this card, which was inserted in the booklet, to a Milwaukee agent seeking more information about the tours. Click image to download a 356-KB PDF of the card.

For $105 more (about $1,400 today), people taking tours 1 through 3 can take a 9-day side trip to Alaska, cruising on a steamship from Seattle to Skagway. The booklet mentions the possibility of other side trips including dude ranches, Olympic National Park, and Yellowstone as a side trip to tours 1 through 3.

None of these tours were escorted, which meant that travelers could leave any day of the week. The booklet invites people to “ask about prepaid, personally escorted, all expense tours,” which no doubt cost something more and only left Chicago about once a week.


Vacation Suggestions in the Pacific Northwest — 1 Comment

  1. The booklet must have been prepared before 1940 since every picture of the Golden Gate International Exposition is obviously a model.The fair actually opened in February of 1939, so I’d guess the booklet was prepared sometime in 1938. The Grand Coulee Dam was also shown at the approximate state of construction in 1938, lending more credence to a 1938 date for this booklet. The pictures are kind of strange mix of ones taken in the 20’s to some very late photos taken in 1937 or 1938. As an example of this, the picture of Butte, Montana was shown with a streetcar on the main street. Street cars in Butte were abandoned in 1937, and the autos are clearly from the late 1920’s. It would be interesting to know what exact lodging and meals were included in the tour price. The “tour” really seems like you were paying the MILW to make advance reservations for you at the different points of lodging and for some of the auto tours. They also seemed to include an inordinate amount of time traveling, so you got to see a place like the Grand Canyon for just half a day. I can’t imagine these “tours” were very successful.


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