Scenic California

In 1943, a company called National Color Press put out a series of portfolios of photos taken along Southern Pacific lines. The photos are all hand-tinted from black-and-white originals; the photo shown below, for example, is from the same black-and-white negative as Lake Tahoe menu from a couple of days ago. The results of the coloring are less than authentic, with an undue emphasis on yellows and pinks.

Click image to download a 34.4-MB PDF of these photos.

Although this particular portfolio is called Scenic California, two of the 16 photos are of sights in Oregon: Crater Lake and Odell Lake, the latter of which also shows SP tracks. Four other photos also show SP tracks, but none show SP trains, although one shows a cloud of smoke from a rotary snowplow that is largely hidden by a bank of snow.

Click image to download a 2.2-MB PDF of this folder.

The photos came in a folder as shown above. A price tag, not shown, indicates that the portfolios sold for 75 cents, or about $10 in today’s money.


Scenic California — 1 Comment

  1. Oh my. That’s some of the worst color tinting I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a somewhat similar set of photographs (although I don’t remember the garish colors) done for the UP by National Color Press. I’ll bet National Color Press did these kinds of “colored” photo sets for any company that would pay them to do so. I think that’s one of the reasons we see so few pictures of trains compared to landscapes.


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