In 1954 and 1955, Southern Pacific converted seven lounge and observation cars into three-quarter length dome cars. At one end of these cars, a lower-level lounge was overtopped by a high, domed ceiling, producing an expansive atmosphere accurately conveyed by this brochure.
The brochure plays on the phrase “high, wide and handsome,” “meaning, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), ‘In a carefree manner, in good style’ or, according to the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), ‘Grandiloquent, stylish, successful.'” This “bone fide American phrase” can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, it was the title of a 1937 musical and a 2009 song, but perhaps has been most identified with the American West, especially Montana. In any case, it appropriately describes SP’s dome cars.