Gold Coast Limited Stationery

As previous noted, in November, 1926, Union Pacific speeded up the schedules of the Overland Limited and Los Angeles Limited from 68 to 63 hours and supposedly completely reequipped both trains. At the same time, it inaugurated the Gold Coast Limited on the previous 68-hour schedule, no doubt using some of the equipment that was formerly on the Overland and Los Angeles limiteds. The Gold Coast split at Ogden to serve both San Francisco and L.A.


Click image to download a PDF of this envelope.

The 1926 ad below focuses on the new 63-hour trains but also mentions the “New Gold Coast Limited,” scheduled to leave Chicago just a few minutes after the faster trains. The ad also mentions the Continental Limited (which went to both SF and LA as well as Portland), the California Mail (to both SF and LA), and the Pacific Limited (San Francisco only).

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Oregon-Washington Limited Stationery

The Oregon-Washington Limited was an early Northwestern-Union Pacific train from Chicago to Portland. I can’t find much information about it–it isn’t even listed in Wikipedia’s list of named passenger trains–but it began operating before 1910 and continued at least into the 1930s.


Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead. Click here to download a PDF of the matching envelope.

For many years, this was the premiere train on this route, roughly equivalent to the Overland Limited or Los Angeles Limited except that the Portland train had coaches as well as Pullmans. The ad below is from the April, 1910 issue of Scribners magazine, and similar ads were placed in Century and other magazines.

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Yellowstone Bear Menu

From about 1923 to 1960, Union Pacific ran a series of ads directed at travel agents featuring what became known as the “Yellowstone bears.” These somewhat clownish characters were probably intended to reassure potential tourists that Yellowstone and its wildlife were safe to visit. These ads were so attractive that Union Pacific/Yellowstone historian Thornton Waite wrote a short book about them.


Click image to download a 0.7-MB PDF of this menu.

These bears were used on this children’s menu. The menu is undated, but is probably from before World War II. The appearance of “The Overland Route” logo on the menu side suggests it is probably from 1933 or before. The style of bears suggests that they were drawn by artist Walter Oehrle, who also did most of the Yellowstone bear ads.

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1947 Yellowstone Lunch Menu

Though three years earlier, this lunch menu might have been found on the same heavyweight train as a menu similar to yesterday’s Zion menu. The menu doesn’t list the name of any train, so it was probably one of Union Pacific’s secondary trains.


Click image to download a 0.9-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu lists four complete meals, including chef’s salad, halibut, pork cutlets, and a bacon-and-tomato sandwich. For $1.25 to $1.50 (about $13 to $15.50 today), these come with tomato puree (except the chef’s salad), bread, dessert, and beverage.

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1950 Zion Breakfast Menu

Sometime during the 1930s, possibly when it introduced the streamliners, Union Pacific switched from the ornate menus shown in the last few days to the more familiar modern-looking menus that have been shown here in the past. This one shows a color photograph of the Great White Throne, the same scene in Zion National Park shown on yesterday’s menu but from a slightly different angle.


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

Unlike the streamliner menus that have been presented here, this menu does not mention the name of the train. However, numbers in the lower left corner of the interior say it was used on trains 11 & 12, the Omaha-to-Portland Idahoan. The menu includes seven different breakfast plates (which included fruit or cereal, bread, and beverage) as well as a large number of a la carte items. Bacon and eggs were $1.25 (about $12 today); adding fruit or cereal, bread, and beverage brought it up to $1.50 (about $14.50 today).

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Zion Blank Menu

Like yesterday’s Bryce menu, this one doesn’t have actual menus printed on the inside. The cover photo also has a large, nearly uncolored area, allowing the greyscale of the original black-and-white photo to represent the “Great White Throne,” a rock formation in the park. So it is probably the same vintage as the Bryce blank, whenever that was.


Click image to download a 2.7-MB PDF of this menu blank.

The Union Pacific featured Zion in even more ads than Bryce, probably because it was a bit more accessible and thus received more visitors each year. Zion, which dates back to 1919, received slightly more than 33,000 visitors in 1929, or 3,000 more than Bryce. By 2020, Zion attracted nearly 3.0 million visitors, more than twice as many as Bryce.

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Bryce Canyon Blank Menus

This menu is from the same approximate vintage as the last couple posted, but the interiors lack menus. The interior decorations–the frames around the menus and the little drawings of overland travel–are present, but no actual menus were ever printed.


Click image to download a 2.9-MB PDF of this menu blank.

The photo on this menu cover is slightly different from the 1929 Bryce menu posted here a few months ago. The photos were clearly taken from about the same location, but the angle is slightly different and the hand coloring is quite different, with a large area left uncolored to apparently represent white or grey rock. The text on the back is also slightly different, with the 1929 menu using a few more words about Union Pacific train services. These differences make me suspect that the blank menus are older than 1929.

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1928 Multnomah Falls Menu

Oregon’s Multnomah Falls is featured on this 1928 Union Pacific menu. The dinner menu was used on the “Third Annual Hawkeye Tour under the direction of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.” As such, it has no meal prices but offers tour members a choice of halibut, lamb chops, or chicken. It does have beverage prices, including root beer, sarsaparilla, apple cider, and others ranging from 20 to 40 cents (about $2.75 to $5.50 today).


Click image to download a 3.6-MB PDF of this menu.

The back of the menu describes the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, which is the home of (as the menu notes) “Latourell, Mist, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena, and Horsetail” falls as well as the tallest, Multnomah. The menu reports that Multnomah is more than 600 feet high, but this is the sum of the two falls in the photo: the upper falls is actually 542 feet while the lower is 69 feet.

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Los Angeles Limited Longs Peak Menu

The menu presents a different view of Longs Peak from the one on the cover of the City of Los Angeles menu posted here a few months ago, yet it is recognizably the same mountain. Recent photos taken from the same spot as this one can be viewed on the web, though I haven’t found any with athletic young women standing precariously at the edge of a cliff. The inside of this menu is identical to yesterday’s Crater Lake menu and the earlier Bryce Canyon menu.


Click image to download a 3.6-MB PDF of this menu.

Being located closer to a major metropolitan area, Rocky Mountain National Park, in which Longs Peak is located, received more than twice as many visitors in 1929–274,000–as Crater Lake. Today, it attracts seven times as many, and unlike Crater Lake it did not peak in the 1970s. In fact, at more than 3.2 million visitors, 2012 was a record year for the park.

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Los Angeles Limited Crater Lake Menu

The inside of this March 1929 menu is identical to a previous menu that featured Bryce Canyon National Park on the outside. Outside, this menu pictures and describes Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. Crater Lake isn’t on the Union Pacific, but people from the East and Midwest going to the park could take the Union Pacific to get to the Southern Pacific, whose trains stopped near the park.


Click image to download a 3.6-MB PDF of this menu.

The description of the park on the back of the menu invites people to rent “rowboats and launches” and fish for the “rainbow and black spotted trout” that were stocked in the lake. To keep the water pure, the Park Service no longer allows these activities in the lake.

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