Yosemite Park 1935 Dinner Menu

Possibly prompted by the introduction of the first streamlined trains, in 1935 Union Pacific began a new series of menus that replaced the art nouveau borders of its earlier menus with a clean white background set off by blue pinstripes. The interiors were also simplified with blue pinstripes replacing busy borders. Some if not all of these modern-style menus used the same front and back cover photos and text as the art nouveau versions, including menus showing Mt. Rainier and the Great White Throne in Zion National Park.

Click image to download a 1.7-MB PDF of this menu.

This particular menu shows Yosemite Falls, with a back cover photo of Half Dome. This is the same image used in the art nouveau menu showing the falls. It seems likely that other images in the art nouveau series, including Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Longs Peak, Mt. Rainier, Multnomah Falls, and orange groves, were also used in these modern-style menus.

The railroad used this style of menu for only a few years. The latest art nouveau menu I’ve seen is dated 1935, the same as this menu, indicating the transition took place that year. By 1939, black-and-white photo menus replaced the white background menus. Though these menus may have been inspired by the streamliners, they probably weren’t used on the streamliners themselves, which had their own sets of menus that featured the winged streamliner logo. While this one is marked for the Challenger, others are not marked for any particular were probably used on other secondary trains.

Leave a Reply