Posts Tagged ‘Great Northern Railway’

The William Laughead Papers, introduced in a previous post, continue to delight.  Among the Bunyan-related materials, we found an advertising booklet heralding “Paul Bunyan’s Prosperity Special.”

Click to view advertising booklet.

Click to view advertising booklet in its entirety.

This pamphlet documents the Red River Lumber Company’s strategy to capitalize on the excitement surrounding the completion of the Western Pacific and Great Northern rail connection. On November 10, 1931, Arthur Curtis James drove the Golden Spike at Bieber, California, opening the “Inside Gateway” to California — Great Northern Railway’s effort to compete with the Southern Pacific Company’s route between Oregon and California.

On this same date, the Red River Lumber Company shipped a special train of lumber products from their plant at Westwood, California. Laughead’s mustachioed Paul Bunyan adorned the train cars and locomotive tanks, and the 171 cars, six locomotives, and caboose cut an impressive figure, if the ad men can be believed.  According to the pamphlet, the train, at 8,325 feet long (that’s nearly 1.6 miles!), was, at the time,  “one of the longest, if not the longest string of loaded cars ever handled in one train movement.  It [was] the largest single shipment of lumber products ever made, with the added distinction that it was manufactured and shipped by one producer at one plant.”


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