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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ten Years of Going UP HILL!

We are going to pick up where we left off – Echo Mountain, California. In the last postings you were seeing the incline up Echo Mountain from the bottom. You have seen the cars at the bottom of the incline with the people smiling for the photographer. Now we have climbed up the incline a bit to take of picture of the people in the car as they head up to half way up Mt. Lowe where the Alpine Tavern awaits them. Here are four post card views of the cars on the way up with their excited and happy passengers.
This card first was mailed on October 1, 1909. It shows a bright red car. This matches the color of most of the cars in the post cards taken at the base of the incline. The post card was published by the Newman Post Card Company which existed from 1907 to the 1960s. So this card was published in the first two years of the company’s existence. It began in Los Angeles, CA as a publisher and printer of lithographic postcards, mostly views of southern California, with some cards of Hawaii and Nevada and the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. In the 1960s they didn’t just disappear, they were purchased by H.S. Crocker.
The top post card is the oldest of these three. It is from the “divided back era”; this is from approximately 1907 to 1915. This card falls right on the edge of the era. Part of the message on the back reads, “…It is sure a great trip and very warm…” It was mailed on July 26, 1915. The middle card is really a reproduction of the first card. But, now we are in the “white border era” – from 1915 to 1930, more or less. It saved the printer a bit of ink by putting a white border around the picture. It was mailed on June 3, 1920. The bottom post card is also from the “white border era”. But, as we look at the picture, we can see how the brush on the side of the mountain has grown. It also seems that the safety committee has visited and suggested that the sides of the car be enclosed!! It was published by the E. C. Kropp Company. In 1898 the E. C. Kropp Company started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by publishing high quality cards. It became the E. C. Kropp Company in 1907 and produced cards from scenes right across the United States. They did some pioneer and experimental techniques. In 1956 the company was sold to the GAF Corporation. In order to make his dream come true, Mr. Lowe had to invent the equipment to take people up this hill – 3000 feet long journey. It was a set of tracks with two cars on them. The cars met at exactly the middle point and followed the tracks as they bent out enough for the cars to pass without bumping each other. The safety equipment, especially the braking, was unusual for the time. But, he had no accidents that I am aware of.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.