Monday, March 25, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Frank W. Lee's Travel Journal, Part 2

(To catch up on this series, "Frank W. Lee's Great Adventure," click HERE.)

Today let me share with you three more entries from Dad's 1932 travel journal.  After leaving his grandmother's home in La Grange, Kentucky, and going to Louisville, Kentucky, Dad traveled by train from Louisville to Williams, Arizona--a trip which took three days. The images below are of the scanned pages of Dad's actual travel journal.

Wed--July 20--32

Left Louisville at 8:15 A. M. on Monon  for Chicago--Heat was terrible, over 100 degrees.  Arrived in Chicago at 5:20, bought Pulman & Canyon ticket & then walked around until time to leave, 10:45 P. M. on the Grand Canyon Limited.

Indiana & Illinois


On train all day although did get off for several minutes in Kansas City, Newton, & Dodge City.  Met 2 boys from Virginia & 1 from Penn.

Missouri & Kansas
Country is nothing but vast plains, no hills & but very few trees.  Large fields of corn, wheat, & potatoes.

July 22--32, Fri

On train all day.  The scenery was very pretty, plateaus(?), wastelands, & mountains.  Saw many Indians & Spaniards.  Arrived  in Williams at 9:30.  Several of us walked around & saw many  ?  sites.  
Also saw many mud or clay villages in N. Mex. where the Indians still live.
Colorado, N. Mex., & Ariz.
Very little farming.  Cattle raising as land (covered?) with sand and sage.

Though Dad was certainly a man of few words, these brief entries contain some interesting tidbits about railroad history.  In the first entry, for example, Dad writes that he went from Louisville to Chicago on the "Monon."  I had never heard of the Monon, and I really thought I was just misreading my dad's handwriting.  When I asked my husband to take a look, he suggested I google "Monon" to see what came up.  (Thank you, dear!)  Well, I discovered that Monon refers to the Monon Railway, also known as the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Louisville Railroad.  Operating as the Monon from 1853-1971, the 300 miles of this railway criss-crossed Indiana. According to, in addition to transporting countless passengers, the Monon also transported Union soldiers and supplies during the Civil War. It also pulled President Lincoln's funeral train for 90 miles.  In 1971, the Monon merged into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and part of the old Monon line is still operated today by CSX.

Dad also writes that he traveled from Chicago to Williams, Arizona, on the Grand Canyon Limited.  Established in 1929, only three years before Dad's great adventure, the Grand Canyon Limited was part of the Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.  It quickly became one of the country's most popular vacation trains, providing access not only to the Grand Canyon but also many other destinations across the United States.  Evidently, Dad traveled in a Pullman Car on his trip.  Since the trip took three days, passengers could purchase tickets to ride in Pullman Cars which provided them with sleeping berths.

What a great way to see America!  Next stop, the Grand Canyon!

Sources:  Monon Railroad Historical Technical Society, Inc., 2013

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