Railroads in the Heartland: Steam and Traction in the Golden Age of Postcards
Historians of midwestern railroading during the early part of the twentieth century have generally focused on the production of railroad company ... Show synopsis Historians of midwestern railroading during the early part of the twentieth century have generally focused on the production of railroad company histories while ignoring the regional view. Fortunately for railway historians and buffs, coincidentally with the zenith of the Railway Age, the national fad for producing and mailing postcards was at its height. Millions of cards, including "real-photo" images, were produced between 1905 and 1915. Roger Grant has selected more than a hundred representative picture postcards to visualize the principal themes and characteristics that gave this dynamic industry its distinctive regional features. By the turn of the century, the railroad map of the Midwest was unequaled. Anyone who examined it carefully sensed that this was the vital center of America's massive network of steel rails. Depots erected in the western prairie environment were spartan, with only minor decoration, but those in the Midwest usually mirrored more ornate New England styles. These features are often reflected in the images in this heavily illustrated book, which depicts the spare but strong pioneering spirit of the enterprise.