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Monday, April 9, 2018

81 Years Od Today

There is so much to say about this post card.... Because the title on the front of the card claims that it is "The Steepest Railway in the World" we should check on that. The rails are 1,550 feet long from top to bottom of the canyon. For 100 per cent of the ride the rails are set at a 45 degree angle. That sounds like the steepest Railway in the world to me - - - at least back on June 14, 1931 (not quite 6 years before this post card was mailed) when it was dedicated. If you search on line for the world's steepest railway today, you will find that it is, of course, in Switzerland. It is certainly steeper than this railway is today - it no longer exists. It was destroyed beyond repair by a fire in June of 2013. That was the same month as its 82nd birthday. The incline railway was owned by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. You can see that when we turn the card over:
The purple circular stamp in the top, middle says, "The top of the world Tennessee Pass Colorado" at the bottom of the circle it has the letters: "D. & G. R. W. Rail..." It also tells you that you are a the 10,242 foot elevation mark (not quite 2 miles above sea level. On left side of the card we see that it was published by the Interstate Company out of Denver. Van Noy Railway Hotel and News began a series of mergers and acquisitions in 1914, starting with the Brown News Company (also headquartered in Kansas City) which was acquired on October 1, 1914 being operated as Van Noy News. In 1915, the Company began consolidating operations with the New York City based Interstate News Company. The company name was changed to Van Noy-Interstate News Company in 1917, but the company headquarters remained in Kansas City under the leadership of Ira C. Van Noy. As a result of changes in railroad passenger train service, Van Noy Interstate began to focus more on the hotel side of their operations. In 1922, the Company acquired the Gem Fountain Company, and in 1926 the company began operating as the Interstate Company.
The line down the center of the card indicates that it was printed by the H. H. Tammen Curio Company. A novelty dealer and important publisher of national view-cards and Western themes in continuous tone and halftone lithography. Their logo does not appear on all their cards but other graphic elements are often remain the same. H. H. Tammen (1856-1924) Harry Heye Tammen was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 6, 1856, the son of a German immigrant pharmacist. He attended Knapps Academy in Baltimore, then worked in Philadelphia before moving to Denver in 1880. Tammen also manufactured a very popular line of "Colorado curiosities" and "mineral novelties" consusting of a variety of numbered and identified Colorado mineral and ore specimens cemented onto clocks, caskets, inkstands (one of which won an award at the 1881 Colorado State Fair), centerpieces, crosses, horseshoes and so on for ornamental purposes. He described these items as "perfect in taste, blending of colors, etc., and absolutely trustworthy as regards the cataloguing, classification and specifications of the different minerals employed in the construction of each article." He also dealt in stereoscopic and other photos of the West (he was supplied by the famous Western photographer W.H. Jackson), photo albums, books on the West, silver souvenir spoons, a wide variety of humorous and scenic postcards (especially of mining areas), fossil fish, polished agates, botanical specimens, Pueblo Indian pottery, Tlingit Indian carvings, relics and taxidermy items from his stores in Denver.

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