Nebraska State Capitol Lunch Menu

The Nebraska state capitol is unusual in that, instead of having a traditional large dome, it has a tower with a small dome on top. The Louisiana state capitol was modeled after Nebraska’s, but without a dome on top. Other state capitol buildings without domes include Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, and North Dakota. Oregon’s has a dome, sort of, but it is flat on top; some say it was designed to look like a tree stump.

Click image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

This menu was used for an Aid Association for Lutherans tour group. The unpriced and rather unimpressive menu offers fish saute, stewed chicken, or short ribs of beef, with soup or tomato juice, whipped potatoes, peas, iceberg lettuce, bread, dessert, and beverage.

1949 Mississippi River Breakfast Menu

The Burlington liked this image so well it used it on postcards, the Twin Zephyrs along-the-way booklet, and many other places. The back cover includes several paragraphs on Mississippi River scenery illustrated by a couple of muddy pictures of what appear to be shovel-nosed zephyrs.

Click image to download a 1.0-MB PDF of this menu.

This breakfast menu is dated July 1, 1949, and was used for a tour called the “Empire State Grotto Special.” Breakfast was $1.50 ($15 in today’s money) and included fruit or juice, cereal, eggs and meat, toast or muffins, and a beverage.

The Denver Zephyr in 1948

This is a post-war update of a 1936 brochure that was issued when the train was new. The 1936 edition was a fold-out brochure with a total of 18 panels while this is a stapled booklet with 16 pages about the same size as the brochure’s panels. Despite being cramped for space, whoever made up this booklet left two of the pages nearly blank.

Click image to download a 4.5-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

Many of the photographs in the 1936 brochure was probably taken at the Budd plant and have no people in them. Several of these photos are reused in the 1948 edition, but most of the photos have models pretending to enjoy their trip on a slightly dated looking train.

Vacation in the West This Summer

This eight-panel brochure summarizes the premiere tourist destinations reachable on the Burlington and its partner railroads. The Colorado Rockies, Glacier, and Yellowstone each get a full panel. The Black Hills, California, Pacific Northwest, and dude ranches each get half a panel.

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

Another panel promotes “the celebrated Zephyrs those streamlined, Diesel-powered wonder trains made of gleaming stainless steel.” The back cover is a map of the Burlington and its connections.

1947 Dude Ranches

Burlington’s pre-war dude ranch booklet focused on ranches around Cody, Wyoming. This one not only lists 50 ranches in that area (twice as many as the 1931 booklet), it also includes more than 30 ranches in Colorado, more than a dozen in northwestern Montana, and a handful in eastern Washington.

Click image to download a 13.5-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

The cover art is signed Gannam, for John Gannam, who was born in Lebanon in (according to most sources) 1907. His family moved to Chicago when he was young and he eventually became a magazine and advertising illustrator. Although he had rarely been out West, he often painted cowboys, which might be why he was picked to do this cover. Most sources say he died in 1965.

Rocky Mountain National Park Menu

Here’s a menu cover with a beautiful photo of two riders in front of what is probably Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately, the menu is blank, but I’ve seen other menus with this cover dated 1946, so this would have been printed around that year.

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Even the back of this menu blank is blank, which is surprising because the railroads usually paired the backs with the fronts. In the other menu I’ve seen with this cover, the back encouraged people to “Come Up to Colorado” and included a schedule for the Denver Zephyr from Chicago to Denver. Perhaps they left the back blank until the menu was used in case the schedule changed.

From Indian Trails to Steel Rails

From Wagon Wheels to Stainless Steel provided a history and along-the-way guide to the Burlington’s Chicago-Denver corridor. This similarly titled booklet does the same for the railroad’s Kansas City-Omaha-Lincoln route. Both of these booklets were printed in 1945.

Click image to download a 9.2-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

The Kansas City-Lincoln route was the original route of the first Zephyr. As noted yesterday, by 1940 the route was covered by the Silver Streak Zephyr. As pictured on the cover of this booklet, that train continued to connect these cities in 1945.

June, 1940 Burlington Timetable

When the Twin Zephyrs began operating in 1936, they took 6-1/2 hours between Chicago and St. Paul, for an average speed of 66 mph. In 1940, however, the Burlington speeded up the westbound Morning Zephyr to just 6 hours, for an average speed of 71 mph–faster than today’s Acela over about the same distance between Boston and Washington. The eastbound Morning and both Afternoon Zephyrs took 6-1/4 hours.

Click image to download a 26.7-MB PDF of this 44-page timetable.

Burlington moved its zephyrs around frequently. For this timetable, the Mark Twain Zephyr connected St. Louis with Kansas City, while that train’s original St. Louis-Burlington route was covered by the Pioneer Zephyr, and the Pioneer‘s original route between Kansas City and Lincoln was held by the Silver Streak Zephyr. For most railroads, the name went with the route, though the equipment may change; for Burlington’s original zephyrs, the name stuck with the trains whatever the changes in routes.

Land of Beauty and Adventure

The Mt. Rushmore memorial was still under construction when the photographs for this booklet were taken. The faces of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were done, but the sculptor had barely begun Roosevelt’s face. He completed it before he died in 1941, but his plan to continue the sculptures to show the bodies of the presidents down to their waists was never completed.

Click image to download a 9.7-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

“The Black Hills are an ideal place to spend a week, a fortnight or a whole summer,” says the booklet. “But for those who must pay the Hills only a fleeting visit,” tourists can visit the Black Hills as a part of one of Burlington’s escorted tours or take special, two- or three-day tours of the region.

1937 Burlington Escorted Tours

After the pastels used on the covers of the previous several tour books, the bright orange and purple on the 1937 edition is startling, but it must have been highly visible on travel agency shelves. The number of tours is down slightly–no more tour to Hawaii, for example–but this is mitigated partly by the addition of several bargain tours that used tourist sleepers instead of regular Pullmans.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this brochure.

A 21-day Alaska tour was about $320 for two people sharing a lower berth, while a 20-day bargain tour of Alaska was almost $100 less. Considering that you have to multiply by 17 to get today’s dollars, that’s still pretty expensive. Continue reading