Sunday, February 05, 2006

Traveling conditions/rail lines going to or near Riverside CA in mid 1880's

From: "Janice Covel"

Mr. Bill Anderson (Railway Museum in Folsom) suggested that I contact you for information re: railroad traveling conditions in the mid 1880s and the trains that ran from Galesburg, Illinois to (or near) Riverside, Ca. I am writing about the life of Eugenia Fuller, a long-time teacher and administrator in Riverside, who arrived there 1885. She was a native of North Henderson-Galesburg and was a teacher and administrator there before traveling to California. I cannot do an authentic biography because there are many gaps of information about her life. How she got from Galesburg to Riverside by train is one of them . I need to know what lines were running at that time. At this point, I believe that she arrived in Colton, CA and traveled to Riverside by stage or buggy. Are there any early historical records of travelers' names and their destinations?

I am currently in the Sacramento/Elk Grove area. I have a second wind about finishing this book and will really appreciate any help you can give me.

—Janice Covel


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The California State Library in Sacramento has the Riverside Press and its successor, the Riverside Press Enterprise, on microfilm from 1878 to the present (there are gaps in coverage from 1880 through 1884 and from 1911 to Nov. 1913). The microfilm can be either seen at the State Library or sent to your local library via inter-library loan.

—John Sweetser

2/06/2006 12:38 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

That's about the time that the Santa Fe opened up its line into Southern California. It ran through Galesburg, Illinois and into Southern California on the other end. You'd have to check to make sure it was opened by that date – and verify whether it was Santa Fe all the way, or perhaps Atlantic & Pacific part way (if that mattered). But of course, if it was opened, you'd have no way of knowing whether that was the way your character actually went.

—Wendell Huffman

2/06/2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

In November 1885, the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad was completed to San Bernardino where it connected with the California Southern to Colton, Riverside and San Diego. Both lines were under the control of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Since Eugenia Fuller resorted to stage or buggy to Riverside she would have arrived on the Southern Pacific. One route she may have taken was Galesburg to Omaha by a number of Railroads, then Union Pacific to Ogden, Central Pacific to Lathrop (southwest of Stockton) and then Central Pacific/Southern Pacific via San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles to Colton. Another route would have been from El Paso to Colton on the Southern Pacific. I will leave it to others to describe a route from Galesburg to the SP.

To access a great number of first person accounts, see: "California as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900." This is a subset of the Library of Congress, American Memory Collection and contains many hard-to-access accounts of western travel.

—Larry Mullaly

2/06/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

I suggested to Ms. Covel that her Illinois lady traveller might have gone from Sacramento into Oakland (since she may have desired to see SF) and doubled back down the San Joaquin Valley. I had forgotten that she might have changed trains at Lathrop (even then). But was there a reasonably direct train change there; and how big were the Lathrop interchange facilities and town in 1885? Was there a frame combination or passenger depot, or shelter only and platforms (if any)? I only knew it in the late 1960s, by which time it was little more than empty meadows bisected by two mainline tracks and the transfer between No's 53-54 and 51-52 meant a cross-ballast hike.


2/06/2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

[CORRECTION:] The first Santa Fe passenger service through Galesburg was not until December 1887. So, our character of interest could not have gone "Santa Fe all the way" afterall. ...


2/07/2006 6:45 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

The two story hotel at Lathrop in the middle of the wye was in operation at least by 1875. A woodcut from Leslie’s Magazine of this San Joaquin Valley junction is in McAfee’s California’s Railroad Era, p. 110. The restaurant on the ground floor of the same hotel was where on August 14, 1889, David Neagle (bodyguard for U.S. Judge Stephen Field) shot and killed Judge David Terry of the California Supreme Court.

Lathrop, with its roundhouse, was the headquarters of Central Pacific’s Tulare Division and by 1879 housed the office of the assistant division superintendent who oversaw operations on the CP and SP as far south as Mojave.

—Larry Mullaly

2/07/2006 6:48 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The railroad hotel at Lathrop was completed around the beginning of March 1871.

The woodcut can also be seen on pgs. 60-61 of Beebe's "The Central Pacific and the Southern Pacific Railroads."

Not really "the same hotel." The original structure burned down on February 26, 1886. The replacement railroad hotel, probably also a two-story building, burned on July 23, 1888. Its replacement was a temporary eating house. Even this building succumbed to fire, on March 1, 1892.

While day-to-day operations may have been overseen at Lathrop, technically, the headquarters of the Tulare Division was at Oakland Wharf. Also, the Tulare Division was on of the Southern Pacific, not the Central Pacific (the stretch from Goshen to Lathrop – the Visalia Division - was part of the CP).

—John Sweetser

2/07/2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Of course, to confuse matters, and because of corporate politics, I wouldn't be surprised if the CB&Q agent in Galesburg didn't convince dear Eugenia to take the CB&Q from Galesburg to Omaha, then the UP to Ogden then the CP (SP controlled) to the bay area and then the SP to southern California. Or, maybe, Eugenia wanted to see the World's Fair in New Orleans (World's Industrial and Cotton Expo), and took the Illinois Central down to the Big Easy then caught the Fair, then hopped on the "Sunset Limited" to LA (via the SP controlled Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio; the SP of New Mexico; the SP of Arizona). Did Eugenia have family in Dallas - Ft. Worth – then its the Missouri, Kansas and Texas to there and then the Texas Pacific to Sierra Blanca, Texas with an exchange to the SP and west. Maybe she wanted to see relatives in denver – how about CBQ to Denver & Rio Grande to Ogden and exchange to CP and off to the west. Too many choices.

Sorry, 1885 was a confusing year for travelers just because the SP wanted to keep control of all gates into California, finally broken by the Santa Fe.

Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

2/07/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Before the rail line through Cajon Pass was completed in late November 1885, probably the most direct rail route from Illinois to Colton was via the Atlantic & Pacific to Mojave and then via the Southern Pacific from Mojave to Los Angeles and Colton.

Up to at least 1883, the Los Angeles Daily Herald published a daily list of passengers arriving north and south on the Southern Pacific into Los Angeles (the info was telegraphed ahead before the trains arrived. Passengers coming from Mojave would be listed under arrivals from the north). I don't know if this practice was continued to 1885 but it's possible. The Los Angeles Times was also published in this era and may have had similar lists.

Another paper to check is the Los Angeles Evening Express. The State Library does not have the Express on microfilm from Sept. 1881 to Nov. 1887 but there is a possibility the Los Angeles County Library in downtown Los Angeles might have it for those years.

—John Sweetser

2/07/2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"
Re: traveling conditions/rail lines going to or near Riverside, CA in mid 1880s

That's a lot of fine points to answer, Ms. Covel.

Some key points to consider re travel logisitc and fares are:

1) any railroad passenger, no matter where they went, had to pay the railroad's base coach-class fare (something like the $11.50 the CSRM Librarian mentioned); if Pullman service was provided on any given railroad, an additional higher Pullman fare (the nominal $75 quoted in Jack White's book) had to be paid over and above railroad coach fare cost, depending on the type of Pullman accomodation to be had or desired. These Pullman fares often fluctuated widely, rather like airfares do today. Eugenia, being a teacher of probably limited means *might* have looked to to a seasonal promotional fare for tourists and excursionists seeking to see the Far West. Investigate whether the Union Pacific and Central Pacific/Southern Pacific or the AT&SFRy were offering any discount summer fares in 1886. Same goes for the Pullman Company. Was Pullman or the host railroads offering or running "Tourist" class or "Emigrant" sleeping car services in that year on any of the above railroads? I mention these because the "Tourist" and "Emigrant" class of sleeping car service was more basic...rattan or wooden seats that converted to beds by night; in the case of Pullman "Tourist" sleeper service, the linens, blankets and a pillow were provided; "Emigrant" car service traditionally only provided the basic seat and the passenger had to bring along their own featherbed, linens, blanket(s) and pillow.

2) Watch out for Harvey House over-inclusion. Fred Harvey and ther Harvey Company only had Harvey House hotels on the lines of the AT&SFRy, and these were still being very newly instituted. Harvey had no facilities whatsoever on the Central Pacific or Southern Pacific railroads' – the hotel at Lathrop, California would have been just another private "road house inn" somewhat typical of the day, and something more related to bare-bones overnight spots along road coach lines.

3) Lathrop is an inland valley location just east of the interior Coast Range mountains that divide the eastern Bay Area communities from the San Joaquin Valley; it is slightly southwest of Stockton and was historically the railroad junction between the Sacramento-Oakland leg of the transcontinental railroad and the Oakland-Fresno-Bakersfield-Los Angeles route down the San Joaquin Valley. The place got its name from the family of Jane Lathrop Stanford, wife of former California Governor Leland Stanford and one of the "Big Four" principals behind the formation of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Southern Pacific Company.

3) As I mentioned before, it was not at all uncommon to seek out some scenic highlights such as San Francisco -- along the way provided the passenger(s) in question used the pacific railroad "Overland Route" west from Omaha. However "dreadfully roundabout" such diversions and getting to them might now seem – if the passenger knew family or close friends at mid-point destinations and if time permitted, stop-overs weren't very rare. Many folks went to San Francisco just to see the Golden Gate, Land's End and the Cliff House. Regardless of whether she stopped over along the way, I suspect that Eugenia may well have traveled with a female escort, whether friend or relative such as an unmarried aunt or lady cousin. Nevertheless, it is entirely possible that she could have travelled unescorted if she took the next-best cautious and proprietary path and stuck to the "womens and childrens" accomodations that most railroads, inns and even Pullman Company were already providing. There
were even hotels and along the way railroad dining rooms that offered women and children only accomodations, such was the emerging adventuresome spirit. After the first "transcontinental" railroad – the UP-CP line west from Omaha to Sacramento and Oakland was opened circa 1870, the popularity of travel-for-travel's sake began to explode almost exponentially thanks to relative ease of overland railroad travel and highly competitive promotional fares.

If, however, a passenger used the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway between Illinois and the Los Angeles area, even as early as 1886, then there were precious few scenic highlights to be had – yet! I quite seriously doubt Eugenia would have taken in the Grand Canyon, for that had yet to turn into any kind of tourist resort. Grand Canyon as a national park and the railroad facilities built to serve it did not even get fully established until after the turn of the 20th century. The stage ride between the AT&SF stations at Flagstaff and Williams, Arizona Territory and South Rim Grand canyon were truly harrowing and long until the AT&SF's Grand Canyon Railway branch (and the Harvey Company's first resort lodge there was completed). Yosemite was also still very difficult to reach in the 1880s; its access railroad was not even completed until after 1906, and getting there took days of agonizing stagecoach travel from distant towns. It would have been more than enough for Eugenia to survive the AT&SF ride that roughly paralleled the southern overland emigrant trails and the "Santa Fe Trail" across Kansas, southern Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. This alone satisfied a great many average folks since they got to "see" these spots from a quickly moving train without having to walk or ride in a stagecoach over the earlier routes as the emigrants of just a couple decades previous. Fred Harvey's harvey Houses along the growing Santa Fe Railway simply brought a tidy order and sanitary quality in terms of food aand service to what had become a hodge-podge of awful railroad hotels and dining rooms. Only the Santa Fe Railway had Harvey's unparalleled facilities; the other transcontinental dining halls and stopover hotels gradually got better until they were fully supplanted (in terms of public service) by the railroad dining car and expanded, nearly universal Pullman sleeping car service after circa 1890-1900.

4) I believe the CSRM librarian was suggesting that you consider the basic coach seat accomodations of the D&RGW 550 car as representative of all railroad day coach accomodations. It should not, however, be construed as anything other than a somewhat typical late 19th century coach. Bear in mind, please, that it is coach with a baggage section up front and that it's present seating arrangements represent a later 20th century modification. CSRM owns a remarkably high numbver of preserved coach-baggage cars, but everyday folks of the late 19th century travelled in full coaches without the baggage section up front. Their trains often had full baggage and express or express-post office cars that were coupled just behind the locomotive and its tender. No.550's seats spacing today is far more spread out than would have been typical in the 1880s, and might confuse you into believing that there was more leg room offered than there really was.

I would suggest, alternatively, that you go into the Museum of Railroad History proper and look closely at the circa 1870s-1880s restored narrow gauge Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad combination baggage-coach car and its nearby mate, Nevada Central Railroad's day coach "Silver State." Ignore the 3-foot wide track gauge and that these two cars are structurally a little smaller overall than the standard gauge Virginia & Truckee Railroad combination baggage-coach No.16 directly opposite. What matters is the type of day coach accomodations these two cars show us, the tighter seat-spacing, the painted canvas headlining cloths, the meager overhead oil lighting (only the M&SV coach has a typical oil ceiling light fixture; the "Silver State's" original oil ceiling lamps have never been found). I regret, as do many others, that no early Pullman sleeping cars exist today, anywhere. All have apparently vanished. Anything Pullman that survives today serves to represent latter 19th century travel dates from a much more established and commodious type of Pullman service of the post-1900 to 1920s-30s era.

You might also go back to the CSRM Library and ask to see black and white photographs of Pullman emigrant and tourist-type cars. The Librarian should be able to help you find some Pullman official builder's photos of these types of cars when they were brand new, just before the cars were released for service from the Pullman factory.

"Janice Covel" wrote:

My sincere thanks to all of you. I had no idea that you would be interested enough to do more than a cursory response. I appreciate the time and effort you took to think about my project and then offer to help. Thank you so much. I shall write to each of you individually once I get a line on some of the suggestions you have made. I am excited about researching each possibility. First, though, I want to let you know that I am a very busy person these days as I follow through on your ideas.

Further research indicates that Eugenia traveled from Galesburg, IL to Riverside, CA in 1886 (not 1885 as I indicated in my first communication), so that will change some of the information about the lines that ran at that time. I am placing her trip in the summer – after school was out in Galesburg and before the fall term started in Riverside, only because that seems typical of teachers — finish a term as expected and be on time for the beginning of another term. Of course, I am going to continue to research that idea – especially since you told me of the microfilms at the State Library and the fact that old railroad records may be available of the passengers who departed from their towns, and that early newspaper records might list when new citizens came to town. Wouldn't that be a hoot to find the verified information? I'll keep looking.

I spent all Wednesday afternoon at the library at the State Railroad Museum at Old Sac and will be going back about the middle of the coming week. It will take several trips. It was encouraging to have the librarian show me the October 1886 Travelers' Official Railway Guide. The print is so little and there's so much information packed in the book. The librarian suggested that she may have traveled from Galesburg to Chicago on CB&Q and then to LA on Santa Fe and then LA to Riverside on CA Southern. What do you think of that route as a possibility? I have been told repeatedly, however, that many people were picked up at the train station in Colton and were then transported to Riverside by stagecoach or buggy if they were coming from the East. Passengers coming up from San Diego -Temecula arrived at Highgrove (an area that is technically Riverside). I can imagine that transferring from one line to another must have been a harrowing experience in itself.

I am intrigued by the suggested possibility of "CB&Q to Omaha, then the UP to Ogden, then the CP to the bay area and then the SP to southern California. But wouldn't that have been a dreadfully roundabout way?

Some of you suggested that she might have stopped at some scenic sites along the way. How commonly was that done? I could include something like that, but my gut feeling is that time was of the essence. Still, if the trains listed above passed by some of the spots you've mentioned (Salt Lake, Grand Canyon, etc), and especially if Harvey Houses were nearby . . . .

Trying to be plausible about the manner in which she traveled appears to be another big hurdle. I doubt that she traveled coach or by herself.

She had been sponsored as a teacher by some of the former Galesburg citizens who were Riversiders at the time of her travel. I believe that it is reasonable to think that she traveled there in a near chaperone situation. Her background as a highly educated woman who was a professional in her field makes me think that she was unlikely to travel in the day coach conditions that I read about at the museum. So, temporarily, at least, I am placing her on a Pullman with stops at Harvey Houses.

Can anyone pinpoint for me the railroad stops that would have had Harvey Houses on the routes indicated above? We are thinking 1886. When I looked for information on the internet, I learned there were 17 Harvey Houses by about that time. Two of you mentioned the Lathrop stop to me. And a Harvey House was there, but I don't know when it opened. Please pinpoint where Lathrop was located.

The three traveling choices were Pullman, sleeping cars and day cars (coaches) and it's going to make a world of difference in how I write about her journey according to which travel arrangement I choose – if I cannot find verified data. Going by Pullman would be a piece of cake compared to the necessary survival skills of a long coach ride.

The cost of the trip is a question mark. In the American Railroad Passenger Car by John H. White, fees are quoted as 75 dollars a day on a regular sleeping car, 75 dollars a day for a drawing room car and 85 dollars a day for a hotel car.

Yet the librarian quoted a figure of $11.50 for a complete trip from Kansas City to Los Angeles from the Official Guide. I've read elsewhere that fees varied widely because of competition and price wars (yes, even then). In your judgment, what would have been a typical cost for the travel from Galesburg to Chicago on the CB&Q, from Chicago to Los Angeles on the Santa Fe and from Los Angeles to Riverside on the California Southern?

The car I'm supposed to look for when I do the museum trip is car 550. Denver and Rio Grande. That is the closest to what the cars would have been like in that time period, the librarian told me. Agree?

As you can tell, I am consumed with the desire to make this fictionalized biography as authentic as possible. I have the story except for many gaps. The trip to Riverside is one of several big ones.

Thanks again. I will be in touch.

—Janice Covel

2/16/2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


In a message dated 02-12-2006, (Kevin) wrote:

> Fred Harvey and ther Harvey Company only had Harvey House hotels on the lines of the AT&SFRy, and these were still being very newly instituted. Harvey had no facilities whatsoever on the Central Pacific or Southern Pacific railroads...

> Fred Harvey's Harvey Houses along the growing Santa Fe Railway simply brought a tidy order and sanitary quality in terms of food and service to what had become a hodge-podge of awful railroad hotels and dining rooms.

First paragraph of above true. Second paragraph, not entirely true. In 1886, the railroad eating houses along the Atlantic & Pacific (a line partly owned by the Santa Fe) from Albuquerque to Barstow were operated by Stackpole & Lincoln. Stackpole & Lincoln eating houses were renowned for the quality of their food (after a series of disasterous fires, S&L's houses along the A&P fell into receivership in 1887 and then into the hands of the Fred Harvey Company).

> Yosemite was also still very difficult to reach in the 1880s; its access railroad was not even completed until after 1906, and getting there took days of agonizing stagecoach travel from distant towns.

I don't think going to Yosemite in the 1880s was quite that difficult.

In my previous message about traveling to Southern California in the 1880s, I told of lists in Los Angeles newspapers of arriving rail passengers. Since then, I done some thinking on this. It is possible that the lists only encompassed passengers ticketed to Los Angeles, so for those going on though LA to places like Colton, using the lists to find a name may be a real long shot (on the other hand, the lists could have included all passengers).

—John Sweetser

2/16/2006 8:10 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Subject: Lathrop hotel

In a message on or about 06-02-07, Larry Mullaly wrote:

> The two story hotel at Lathrop in the middle of the wye was in operation at least by 1875. A woodcut from Leslie's Magazine of this San Joaquin Valley junction is in McAfee's "California's Railroad Era," p. 110. The restaurant on the ground floor of the same hotel was where on August 14, 1889, David Neagle (bodyguard for U.S. Judge Stephen Field) shot and killed Judge David Terry of the California Supreme Court.

I replied that the hotel pictured in the Leslie's woodcut couldn't have been "the same hotel" where the shooting took place because the Lathrop railroad hotel burned down two times and after the last fire in 1888, the eating house consisted of a temporary structure.

I forgot that the railroad hotel/eating house operators, Stackpole & Lincoln, also leased an existing hotel in downtown Lathrop, as mentioned in the Oct. 8, 1885 Stockton Independent in a report about a legal dispute (the railroad hotel or eating house was apparently on the outskirts of Lathrop). Maybe the shooting took place in their downtown hotel.

By the way, in Bakersfield, Stackpole & Lincoln also operated a downtown hotel (the Arlington) from about 1890 to 1892 in addition to a railroad eating house.

—John Sweetser

2/16/2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

Thank you for the correction. The Neagle/Terry incident is such a good story, its a shame it did not take place in the original building.


2/16/2006 8:49 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I've alway heard that the shooting was at the depot structure, while those involved were changing trains. I haven't seen contemporary accounts to verify.


2/17/2006 12:14 AM  

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