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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dizzying Heights 108 Years Ago

The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co. existed from 1893 until its official abandonment in 1938, and had the distinction of being the only scenic mountain, electric traction (overhead electric trolley) railroad ever built in the United States. Lowe’s partner and engineer was David J. Macpherson, a civil engineer graduate of Cornell University. The Mount Lowe Railway was a fulfillment of 19th century Pasadenans to have a scenic mountain railroad to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Railway opened on the 4th of July 1893.

What you see here is the second phase of three train trips that the tourists took to get to the Alpine Tavern at the top of the mountain. If it looks like the people are posing for a picture, that is because they are. Mr. Lowe hired a photographer to take pictures of the people after they got onto the cable car. Then, of course, the tourists could purchase the pictures once they were developed.

After having their pictures taken, they were taken up the mountain. That building is NOT the Alpine Tavern. The tourists disembarked at the top and transferred to a trolley that took them farther up the mountain into the wooded part. That is where they could find the Alpine Tavern and a friendly "pet bear".

The post card was mailed on May 2, 1910 - one hundred and eight years ago today. The writing is very small because she has a lot to say in a very small space. Basically, she is saying that she hasn't heard from her aunt and uncle, the recipients, [and she hopes it is not because they have been ill] and she wants to stay with them while she is in their area. She has been to California to recover from an illness, herself. She is on her way back home feeling better but without any more pounds on her frame. I know it is a she because she signs it your affectionate niece.... but her name is obscured by the top post mark.

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