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Saturday, December 6, 2014

That's Weeber to You (3 of 3)

In the blogs of the last two weeks, I mentioned that as I looked at three post cards I noticed that the writing on the back looked very similar. Sure enough, the post cards are being sent to Miss Reba Van. They were all written on the same journey, by the same author, to the same person. This is about the third, and final, post card in that series.
As the Union Pacific Railroad headed east from Omaha, Nebraska the track laying crews made their way almost straight west across Nebraska and Wyoming then entered into Utah. In Utah they made a southern turn and traveled toward Ogden, Utah on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. To get there they had to lay track through the Echo and Weber (pronounced Weeber) Canyons. Weber Canyon is in the Wasatch Mountain Range. The 40 mile long river is fed by 13 tributaries as it flows west toward the Great Salt Lake.

The Union Pacific built tunnels and bridges through Echo Canyon first; track-laying progressed rapidly down Echo Canyon to Echo City, reaching there on January 15, 1869. Within a week, tracks reached the site of a large tree, 90 feet tall, that happened to be exactly 1,000 miles from Omaha (the corporate seat of the Union Pacific), and soon a sign was hung from the tree clearly stating that fact. The tree was in the middle of a gorge between Henefer in the Upper Weber Valley and Devil's Slide, a unique geological formation of twin limestone ridges running vertically from the canyon floor. Along with the Thousand Mile Tree, Devil's Slide immediately became a sight to be seen by all passing trains.

Three miles west of Devil's Slide, two tunnels designated No.3 and No. 4, were completed, allowing tracks to progress further west through Round Valley to Morgan. Like the delays at Tunnel No. 2, delays at tunnels 3 and 4 forced the construction of short and temporary runaround tracks to speed the progress of track laying, including a curved wooden trestle at Tunnel No. 3 that is said to have followed the course of the river around the tunnel. Quoting Charles Edgar Ames in his excellent 1969 history of the construction of UP's transcontinental line:
"Tunnels 3 and 4 were only three-quarters of a mile apart in the narrowest part of the steep, rock-filled gorge of Weber Canyon, 3 miles west of Devil's Slide. Work was begun in September. Tunnel 3 was 508 feet long on a 3-1/2 degree curve, while Tunnel 4 was 297 feet long on a 4 degree curve. Both were cut through sharp spurs of black limestone and dark blue quartzite. The use of newly invented nitroglycerine greatly expedited the work. Number 4 was finished in January, but longer Number 3 not until April. So, for a few months, trains had to creep dangerously around sharp curves at the edge of the turbulent river."
The view of the completed Tunnel No. 3 and its adjacent bridge over the Weber River was so dramatic that numerous stereographic and hand colored postcards were generated that showed the wooden bridge crossing the Weber River, and the tracks plunging under the rocky crags above the tunnel portal. After the completion ceremony at Promontory, and throughout the following spring and summer, UP construction crews returned to the tunnel sites and various bridge sites to complete the permanent structures and timber linings.

This post card is from the Divided Back Era (1907 - 1915). The number on this post card is A-9090 It was posted from Blue Canyon, California on January 6, 1911. The message is explaining to the reader that the trip through the Sierra Nevada's was beautiful in the height of winter. The post card was published by Barkalow Brothers from Omaha, Nebraska. Hmmmmm.... that is where the Union Pacific Railroad Company is headquartered. I wonder if there is a connection to the picture on the front. Maybe this description will help us to know the answer to that: It is taken from the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York

The Barkalow Brothers, Sidney D. Barkalow and Derrick V. Barkalow, arrived in Omaha from Ohio in 1856. BARKALOW BROS., news agents Union Pacific Rail Road, firm composed of D. V. and S. D. Barkalow, commenced business in 1865. D. V. B. of above firm was born in Warren County, Ohio, February, 1843. In 1856 he removed with his parents to Omaha, Neb. Learned printing and telegraphy, and about 1862 was engaged as operator on the overland telegraph line. S. D. Barkalow of above firm was born in Warren County, Ohio, in 1844; removed to Omaha Neb., with his parents in 1856. At the age of fifteen years he commenced clerking, and at seventeen started in business for himself in book and stationery firm of Barkalow Bros.
They became the exclusive distributors of printed materials, including postcards, for the Union Pacific Railroad. They won won their contract with the U.P. in 1865 and became the exclusive news agents on the trains and in the stations along the line. The Barkalow Brothers also published non railroad oriented view-cards that were often printed by Tom Jones. They eventually became suppliers of hotel gift shops and moved their business to Fort Myers, Florida.

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