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Monday, May 14, 2018

Look, Ma! No hands!!

OK Get a load of this caption on the back of the post card: "Gravity Car of Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais Railway descending Mt. Tamalpais from Muir Woods, California." What a wild ride that could be... although it does look like the person in the front left of the car has his hand on a braking mechanism of some sort. Mount Tampalpais used to have a hotel, tavern at the top. During its time a trip on the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railroad was a favorite city getaway for San Franciscans. The railway was an immediate success when it opened for business in 1896 and was dubbed by locals as the “Crookedest Railroad in the World” because of its 281 curves in just over eight miles of track, which were depicted in the company’s logo, seen left. Imagine the feeling of excitement and anticipation people must have felt as they ferried across the bay to Sausalito. At the nearby Mill Valley train depot a sleek Heisler or Shay steam engine’s whistle signaled the beginning of the train ride to the top of Mount Tamalpais. Passengers breathed the fresh mountain air from open cars as the train climbed to an elevation of 2,500 feet at a speed of 10 miles per hour. At the summit people marveled at views of the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Locomotives were positioned on the downhill end of the train and pushed the passenger cars uphill, allowing for unobstructed vistas. Watching the engines push from below was an added spectacle for riders, who could see the train’s gears and engineer at work. Ridership declined in later years. By 1920, automobiles could drive to the mountain summit on twisty roads. A fire on Mount Tamalpais in 1929 left many of the rail ties damaged or destroyed. Rail managers lost hope for profitability and abandoned reconstruction efforts. The last train traveled up the mountain on October 31, 1929. Tracks were pulled up in 1930, signaling the end of travel to Muir Woods on the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway.
The writer of this post card is telling Miss Alice Lazarus that they are going camping in Yosemite National Park for two weeks. They even have tents and utensils. The writer tells us that Ted looks fine [I presume that Ted is her husband] and the letter that Alice sent arrived on "my anniversary, May 3" So, I don't know if Ted is her husband.... Why else would she have an anniversary? AND the writer does not sign the post card with a name.

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