Virtual Exhibitions 2011, no. 1

Promotion and Transformation of Landscapes along the CB&Q Railroad

Eric D. Olmanson

This virtual exhibition shows some of the many ways railroads reshaped landscapes of the American West between 1847 and 1965. You may choose to read chronologically starting with the overview, or go directly to a theme that interests you by clicking on the navigation slider below. To see an image's full view and caption, click the image thumbnail. All rights reserved for all exhibition images. For permission to use an image, contact the Newberry Library.

Chapter 9

Overland Excursions

CB&Q Brochure cover "Overland Excursions to the East" (1902)
Cover, CB&Q “Overland Excursions to the East” brochure (1902)

During the last few decades of the nineteenth-century, the CB&Q promoted migration, settlement, and development of the western states and territories. During the same period the company heavily promoted tourism to National Parks located in the western states. Tourism advertisements were overwhelmingly (if not entirely) aimed at enticing inhabitants of the more urbanized center and eastern regions of the country to travel west. Like settlement trends, tourism had a general direction: west. The West offered an escape from the ills of the more settled parts of the country. By the turn of the century, much of the west had been settled. Several western urban centers were already well established. In 1900 San Francisco was the 59th largest US city with a population of 342,782. Denver, Colorado was 75th, with 133,859. Los Angeles was 86th with 102,479.

Brochure "Overland Excursions to the East" (1902)
“Overland Excursions to the East” brochure (1902)

As the Burlington promoted tourism, they sought to overcome the Granger image of the line. As the panel at right states, “the eastern idea is that a tourist car is something like an emigrant car. There was never a greater mistake.” The brochure emphasizes amenities, cleanliness, comfort, and reassuringly agreeable people.

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CB&Q Brochure “Overland Excursions to the East” (1906)
CB&Q Brochure “Overland Excursions to the East” (1906)

The Burlington offered first class service for second class fares and assured customers that “objectionable people will not be ticketed.”

Interior of CBQ Tourist Sleeping Cars
Interior view of tourist sleeping car from “Burlington Route Overland Excursions” (1902)

Either to make the interior of the sleeping car seem fuller, or the people more attractive, the passenger in the right foreground was clearly drawn in by an artist. All of the passengers seem somber. The text offers a straightforward inventory of the luxuries and necessities provided in the car.

Creative Commons License 2011 Eric D. Olmanson
This refers only to the text and does not include any image rights. Please click on an image to view its individual rights status.