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.

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