Advertisement for the Northern Pacific Railroad, 1915.
This ad for the Northern Pacific Railroad, which dubbed itself as
"The Wonderland Route to the Pacific Coast," capitalized on its affiliation
with the natural wonders of the American continent. The railroad was heavily involved
in the exploration and subsequent exploitation of Yellowstone National Park and later, the Black Hills of South Dakota
and Glacier National Park in Montana. Railroad advertising used images of the
Western landscape to lure Easterners to see these "wonders" via the train. This particular ad,
done by an anonymous artist, imitates the scene and style of Thomas Moran's original sketches for
his painting The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The text of the ad is written to appeal to the American fascination with wilderness,
evoking connotations of both the "savagery" and the "civilization" of the American west through its references to both the
mountains and the cultivated fields of the west as well as the luxurious comfort of the
train which takes you to the primitive wilds of Yellowstone in 1915:
The object of this publication is, frankly stated, to impress you with
the advantages of the Northern Pacific Railway across the continent and to the
California Expositions in 1915. In other publications we descant in detail upon
our train service and its gastronomic excellencies, the scenic delights, and the Northwest.
This rail route is most interesting from both a scenic and historic viewpoint. It is "green"
all the way, a continuous panorama of mountains, streams, and cultivated farms--
one thousand miles of river and lake scenery at moderate altitudes and, therefore, it
is most comfortable and cool--an ideal transcontinental route. It is
the original Yellowstone Park Line, with through train service from eastern and
western terminals to Gardiner Gateway, near Mammoth Hot Springs, the Capital
of the Park.
The steamship route is a new one, the steamers, American-built, safe and speedy, and we hope that
this particular route and tour may appeal to you.
Return to Text