Sunday, December 08, 2013

Museum photos from early Albuquerque New Mexico

The last (bottom) link is to the Albuquerque Museum pictorial archives. An early day, well into the Industrial Revolution. Rail rolling stock, Steam Locomotive maintenance was extremely labor and investment intensive. Albuquerque was a major maintenance station along the Santa Fe "Route of the Stars"

Blunt end Diesel Electric engines in eight car 'consists' (train sets) were first used temporarily by ATSF in 1936 on the Southwestern Transcontinental routes. Pioneering in1938 and extensively following WWII, the stream-liners Diesel Electric Locomotives, pulling 4 and 5 car passenger sets at the beginning, as well  as baggage and mail cars, such as the venerable, luxurious Pullman consists 'Santa Fe Super Chief'. 

 'El Capitan', with it's reclining sleeper seats in 'all coach' 4 and 5 car 'consists', Super Chief and El Capitan, both Diesel powered, eventually replaced the high maintenance, classic Steam Engines. Story of Super Chief here on wiki. Route of the Super Chief from Chicago through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona (to Grand Canyon.. El Tovar) to California including west coast.. here.

The days of Steam Locomotives, Diesel Electric engines and passenger rail cars linking the East to the West, was often romanticized or dramatically depicted in clips of 'Movietone News' narrated by Lowell Thomas on the big screens in local theaters. 

Rail sabotage was always a newsworthy event, carried out to bring attention to whatever cause. Such was the 1939 derailing of the modern Diesel stream liner, 'City of San Francisco' near Harney Nevada that killed 24 people and caused a national furor.

The northern California 'Zephyr' Central Transcontinental route from Chicago to Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento to the coast was more prone to blizzard disruptions during winter months '1952 Southern Pacific' due to the infamous Donner Pass. That party had a really rough, long Christmas season in 1847.  A bit problematic for maintenance crews both rail and highway, even to this day.

The Northwestern Transcontientals out of St Paul-Minneapolis Minnesota through North Dakota, Montana on to Portland Oregon and Seattle, Tacoma Washington also enjoyed rough blizzard conditions. 

Then the Canadian Trans-continentals out of Winnepeg, across thousands of miles of fairly mundane flat grain growing prairie and into the mountains western Canada offered more excitement, as The Canadian Pacific and the Canadian Northern engineered and blasted their roadbeds on to Vancouver, through rough mountainous terrain with deep gorges to keep bridge builders/engineers busy with such historic 'forests of lumber' wooden trestles as the 'Mountain Creek' on the CPR line.

Movie Stars, political figures and national celebrities traveled coast to coast by train sets (including the esthetically smooth rounded end 'observation' cars, halted for cost utilitarian reasons in 1958) of  luxurious 1800's  'Madison' cars on rail. Later Pullman Cars by visionary George Pullman, added the 'sleeping while rolling' convenience and luxury to their various configurations

'Pullman' was the most prolific employer of black Americans following the Civil War, due to the prestigious positions previously held by the multi-talented 'Porters', many of whom previously were talented household  managers in the southern estates. 'Dome Cars' were another added luxury to the stream liners.

The likes of Diamond Jim Brady, Leland Stanford, Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, J Pierpont Morgan and W Averell Harriman, all were deemed by political pundits, as rich 'Robber Barons' in their time. Many of whom were instrumental in the US rail systems promulgation across the USA, without which the historic rise in prosperity of the USA would not have been possible.

 Their philanthropy, passed down through their offspring, is still noteworthy today. Stanford University, John's Hopkins University Hospital, Vanderbilt University, among countless others, thrive even today, due to their initial bequeaths of fortunes and trusts.

Interesting to note the many famous names of personalities from the past, while perusing the historic photos on the ABQ museum link below, then research their individual stories.

 Jackie Coogan child star, became a pilot of combat invasion Gliders during WWII, as well as being the point of 'Coogan's law, referring to film children's earned wealth, vs parental financial responsibilities. His marriage to film Star WWII 'Pin Up Girl', Betty Grable was a notable accomplishment, though short in duration.

Noah Beery Sr, Noah Beery Jr ('Rockford's father 'Rocky'), Wallace Beery. Douglas Fairbanks, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish. Many interconnect through marriage, siblings or the family film 'business'.

 Fearless (Spiderman) Harold Lloyd was the less well known equivalent of Charlie Chaplan. In real life, dashing Charlie Chaplan was the direct opposite of his film character. Many lived productive lives as often did their parental heritage, in giving to the world (Doris Duke, only daughter of the international tobacco magnate). 

Many Stars destroyed their own lives, just as happens today. In the early days of film and live theater, the Stars were supported in style by wealthy individuals, Patrons of the Arts, rather than the meager earnings from the viewing public. As throughout history, saving or squandering a legacy is related to personal choice.

Fred Lambert at 16 years of age, was the youngest Territorial Marshal ever in New Mexico Territory, carrying dozens of various official law enforcement Badges during his lifetime in law enforcement.

 Film Star Ricardo Cortez (Wall Street broker) was of Jewish US parentage, though falsely portrayed by Hollywood as Spanish from Austria. The ruse (Hollywood is talented in 'the false portrayal' trade) was to play off of Rudolph Valentino's (died of pneumonia after surgery, at 31 years of age) fame as an international heartthrob Latin Lover. 

Early days of air travel, when the planes landed for the night then took off in the morning heading for the next overnight landing 'Field', was more primitive than luxurious rail travel. Barely faster.... if at all, when considering storm delays, including flight being far more risky in those early days.

 A time of fast developing industrial prosperity, with unlimited opportunities for those willing to work hard and take risks. The time when 3 century old Albuquerque New Mexico was rapidly emerging from it's sleepy days, as one of the many Spanish Missions and resupply trading posts on the Camino Real (King's Highway) from Mexico City. 

Here is the pictorial history of those times in the United States of America. One Nation Under God.


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