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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mailed on a Train 104 Years Ago

This post card reminds me very much of a joke my father would suggest that we play on our art teacher in elementary school. He suggested that we color the entire paper black and title it "Midnight on the Desert". I did that in grade 5 or 8 (I had the same teacher each of those grades) using a black colored pencil on a 4 by 6 piece of card stock. She then brought me the paper and a pencil with an eraser and started to lightly erase areas to look like cactus, mountains in the background and a coyote. I didn't think she had much of a sense of humor. The picture on the front of this card must have inspired my dad's joke.

The message on the back is no laughing matter, however. It is written by someone who has been on the train across the American prairies for perhaps one day too long. "Here we are getting back East. Leaving the Mountain & riding thru prairie all day Friday." I am not sure, but I think the writer tried to balance off the complaint by signing the card from everyone in the family (three of whom had a name that started with the letter T). It is signed "S+S+S+ HM"

The post card was published by The Barkalow Brothers. I have many post cards in my collection thanks to their efforts.
The Barkalow Brothers were Sidney D. Barkalow and Derrick V. Barkalow. They arrived in Omaha from Ohio in 1856. BARKALOW BROS., news agents U. P. R. R. commenced business in 1865. D. V. B. of above firm was born in Warren County, Ohio, February, 1843. 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. They have been known to cooperate with Williamson-Haffner Company in their publishing efforts.

What I really like is that this post card was mailed while the writer was still on the train. It was a Union Pacific passenger train that traveled the route: Omaha, North Platte & Denver. The R.P.O. at the bottom of the round postmark indicates that the post card was mailed from a Railroad Post Office.

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