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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tomorrow, April 27th in Train and Post Card History

The picture on the front of this post card is of a train crossing a river near Riverside, California. The train belongs to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad (the LA & SL).

The LA & SL was a railroad company that completed and operated a railway line between its namesake cities, via Las Vegas, Nevada. Incorporated in Utah in 1901 as the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, the line was largely the brainchild of William Andrews Clark, a Montana mining baron and United States Senator. Clark enlisted the help of Utah's Senator Thomas Kearns, mining magnate and newspaper man, to ensure the success of the line through Utah. Construction of the railroad's main line was completed in 1905. Company shareholders adopted the LA&SL name in 1916 after San Pedro had become part of Los Angeles. As you can see in the title of this post card, the railroad was also known by its official nickname, "The Salt Lake Route."

The railroad began in 1871 when the Utah Southern Railroad began laying track southward from Salt Lake City. The Utah Southern, controlled by the much larger Union Pacific Railroad (UP), built a line to a station known as Juab, Utah in 1879. Over time, the Union Pacific Railroad either extended lines, built new tracks, or purchased existing tracks and companies. Another player entered the scene in 1900, however, when Mr. Clark acquired the struggling Los Angeles Terminal Railway with an eye to extending the line northeast to Salt Lake. After “railroad war” a settlement was reached whereby Mr. Clark would build his railroad and the UP would be half owner of his company.

The LA&SL operated independently until April 27, 1921 (93 years ago) when the Union Pacific agreed to acquire Clark's half of the railroad. After 1921 the LA&SL lines were operated as part of the UP system, although the LA&SL Corporation continued to exist on paper until January 1, 1988.

The information above was mostly taken from:

The information that follows below was mostly taken from Jeff, a dedicated collector and admirer of Edward H. Mitchell. His website can be found at:

I have also taken content from a great reference site for post cards:

Edward H. Mitchell, one of the earliest and most prolific postcard publishers in the United States, was born on April 27, 1867 (147 years ago) in San Francisco.

Mitchell published very early cards – colored vignettes – that were printed in Germany. He was printing and publishing undivided back cards from 225 Post Street in The City before the earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed his operation and much of San Francisco. He continued to work out of his home until he built a plant and warehouse on Army Street. His cards have great color for the time they were created. All postcards printed after 1908 proudly proclaim 'Printed in the United States' on their backside.

Most of his postcards are about the West. Mitchell rode the rails, which makes sense in his era. I am sure that he created many postcards about the railroads in exchange for discounted travel. I believe that is where the saying “The Road of a Thousand Wonders” which appears on many cards came from.He printed cards for himself and other publishers, most notably to promote the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. Some of his postcards were being republished through other publishing companies that Mitchell owned or was a partner in such as the Pacific Novelty Co. and the Souvenir Publishing Co. He was known to have purchased the businesses of competitors.

Edward H. Mitchell gave up postcard publishing around 1923 to focus on his interests in the Oil Industry. He died in 1932.

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