Saturday, June 20, 2009


Look at the below 102 year-old hand-colored postcard.

left click to enlarge

It's a trolley load of folks nearing the summit of Mt. Lowe in California. It's wintertime, snow is everywhere. There's a man standing on the tracks in front of the trolley, so it's stopped for the photograph. Everyone else has left their bench seat and are standing up. Photography was pretty basic back then, with cameras the size of suitcases and using huge plate glass negatives, so how long did this photo take?

They are all up in the air maybe 50 feet on a spindly wooden trestle. There are no hand rails or guard rails on the trolley.

Even when sitting, the passengers are totally exposed to the open air and weather. Gotta wonder how long they stood there... and how much wind was blowing. Try to imagine the hissy-fit this kind of conduct would cause today. The NTSB, OSHA... Who knows what other government bureaucracy would have heart attacks over citizens acting so.... unsafely. Investigations, firings, lawsuits.

At least one of the ladies is still seated.

Another interesting point... The front of the card has a Kansas City postmark indicating the date the card was RECEIVED. Never knew any post office did that sort of thing.The back of the card is fairly typical, showing that it was mailed April 9, 1907, at Whitter, Calif.

The post date on the front shows it was received in Kansas city on April 12, 1907. Three days from California to Kansas. Not bad for 1907.

The Mount Lowe Railway was a scenic mountain railroad created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway existed from 1893 until its official abandonment in 1938, and had the distinction of being the only scenic mountain, electric traction (overhead electric trolley) railroad ever built in the United States.

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