Union Pacific Post-War Color Photo Menus

In 1947, UP introduced a series of menus each featuring a color photo that usually wrapped around the back cover. The front cover included a brief photo caption and sometimes the name of the train. The back had a more detailed photo caption. By the time Amtrak took over in 1971, UP had issued at least 130 of these menus.

When the dome-diners were introduced, the menus were slightly redesigned so that the photo did not wrap around the back. The photos on dinner menus filled the front cover and the name of the train was given on an extra flap or fold. The back covers had the same text as the wrap-around menus but in larger type. The photos on breakfast and lunch menus didn’t fill the front cover, leaving a space at the bottom for the name of the train, and the menus didn’t have the extra fold. This dome-diner format didn’t last long, possibly because most of the subjects of UP photos were more suited to a landscape than a portrait format.

As of the end of 2017, I’ve posted menus with 120 different covers, have identified 14 others (some of which will be posted in August 2018), and strongly suspect there are several more. Please download my checklist and let me know if you have seen one that I haven’t identified.

I’ve grouped these menus into several geographic areas: Colorado; Missouri; Nevada; Pacific Northwest; San Francisco Bay Area; Southern California; Sun Valley; Utah; Wyoming; and Universities and Colleges. UP also had a menu for Boys Town in Nebraska that doesn’t fit into any other series; you can see it on my 2015 missing menus page. Some menus, such as those depicting sights in Missouri, Denver, and San Francisco, would usually be used on specific trains, while others might be found on any Union Pacific dining car. Color wraparound menus were also sometimes used in Union Pacific lodges in Utah parks, Sun Valley, and Union Pacific’s West Yellowstone dining hall.

Colorado

Colorado photos feature Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver; Denver photos seem to have been restricted to the City of Denver and City of St. Louis while Rocky Mountain Park photos were used on other trains as well. Two different photos of Bear Lake appear to have been taken on the same day as they both have the same woman in the picture.


1953 Menu

1955 Menu

1955 Menu

1957 Menu

1957 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1960 Menu

1971 Menu

Missouri

At least two menus used exclusively on the City of St. Louis featured sites in Missouri: the Kansas City Union Station and St. Louis botanical gardens.


1958 Menu

1952 Menu

Nevada

This series includes at least two menus featuring Las Vegas and four showing Boulder/Hoover Dam.


1947 Menu

1948 Menu

1954 Menu

1958 Menu

1959 Menu

1968 Menu

1970 Menu

Pacific Northwest

This series includes photos of Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, the Columbia River Gorge, Portland, and Seattle. Counting one photo showing both Portland and Mt. Hood, UP had five color photo menus featuring Mt. Hood, more than any other landmark except Sun Valley and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Some of the dinner menus shown here vary from the norm in two ways. First, the photo doesn’t wrap around to the back cover. Second, a second fold has been added just to display the UP logo. Unlike most dining car menus, these do not have an a la carte side, instead just offering table d’hôte meals. A few other menus from the late 1950s to the early 1960s also omit the a la carte side, and at least three others don’t have wrap-around photos. The table-d’hôte-only dinner menus were used on the domeliner City of Portland and the other non-wraparound menus were usually used for other meals in the dome-diner.


1950 Menu

1953 Menu

1953 Menu

1953 Menu

1954 Menu

1954 Menu

1954 Menu

1954 Menu

1954 Menu

1957 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1959 Menu

1960 Menu

1960 Menu

1966 Menu

1967 Menu

1970 Menu

1971 Menu

San Francisco Bay Area

These menus were used almost exclusively on UP-SP trains such as the City of San Francisco and San Francisco Overland Limited. I’ve only found two menus marked for San Francisco trains that don’t show San Francisco scenes: one of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City and one of Zion National Park (both of which are included in the Utah menus below). The California State Railroad Museum has three San Francisco menus not in my collection: an updated flower seller and two more of Nob Hill; you can see them on my 2016 missing menus page.


1947 Menu

1949 Menu

1949 Menu

1949 Menu

1949 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1954 Menu

1955 Menu

1955 Menu

1957 Menu

1957 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1960 Menu

1960 Menu

1960 Menu

1961 Menu

1961 Menu

1961 Menu

1965 Menu

1967 Menu

Southern California

These menus include Disneyland, Los Angeles, and various beach scenes. Union Pacific’s Southern California guide included Monterey in this geographic area even though more people associate it with Northern California. Although UP had pre-war menus featuring Yosemite Falls, I haven’t found a UP color wraparound menu showing Yosemite Park: UP possibly considered that to be an SP destination and SP didn’t include any such photos on its San Francisco train menus.


1947 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1954 Menu

1955 Menu

1955 Menu

1958 Menu

1959 Menu

1961 Menu

1961 Menu

1964 Menu

1966 Menu

1967 Menu

1967 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

Sun Valley

UP promoted its Sun Valley resort with more than a dozen menus featuring the area in both summer and winter. UP sold the resort in 1964, so it’s not surprising that the newest menus I’ve found featuring Sun Valley are dated 1965.


1948 Menu

1948 Menu

1948 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1953 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1961 Menu

1961 Menu

1963 Menu

1963 Menu

1965 Menu

1965 Menu

1965 Menu

1969 Menu

1969 Menu

1967? Menu

Utah/Grand Canyon

This series includes two different views of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City as well as several of the southern Utah Parks: Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon, of course, is in Arizona but the UP served it via its Utah Parks Company.

UP photographers sometimes rephotographed scenes several years apart. This might be necessary to update photos that displayed dated automobiles, hairstyles, or clothing. Curiously, two photos of the Great White Throne in Zion Park, one including a pretty girl with a now-dated hairdo and the other without the girl, were used on menus from a similar time period and–judging from the cloud patterns–were just a few minutes apart.


1948 Menu

1949 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1955 Menu

1958 Menu

1959 Menu

1965 Menu

1966 Menu

1967 Menu

1970 Menu

1970 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

Wyoming

Most Wyoming photos are of Yellowstone geysers or Jackson Hole, but there are also two of Lake Marie in the Snowy Range near Laramie, Wyoming.


1947 Menu

1947 Menu

1947 Menu

1949 Menu

1952 Menu

1957 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1958 Menu

1964 Menu

1965 Menu

1967 Menu

1968 Menu

1970 Menu

1970 Menu

1971 Menu

1971 Menu

Universities and Colleges

In 1949, UP began a series of menus featuring the campuses of various colleges and universities in the eleven states served by the railroad. My collection includes twenty, and I’ve identified three more for the University of Southern California, the University of Idaho-Caldwell (which no longer exists), and the Municipal University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska-Omaha). You can see these three on my 2016 missing menus page.

I’ve identified four menus showing California schools, five from Nebraska, two from Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, and Washington, and just one from Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. I suspect there is at least one more from Utah, but haven’t seen it.

I haven’t found any of these menus used on a UP dining car after 1953; the 1954 menu was used at a Kiwanis Club meeting. Many of the cover photos show the college’s administration building, which tends to be a pretty boring subject, which may be why UP dropped this series.


1949 Menu

1949 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1950 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1951 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1952 Menu

1954 Menu