I have been cleaning the house in preparation for the coming fall weather. Part of this has included thinning the home library of some books I no longer need, usually titles I bought second-hand for past projects. One must move on and make room for the new. I always skim through a book to make sure I haven’t left anything inside. Yesterday I did just that to one old title and out fell what you see above. It is a Pullman ticket from back in the day. In and of itself there is nothing unusual about it. The ticket is just a piece of the everyday detritus of life, something one would purchase for one’s trip and then discard upon reaching the destination much in the way I discarded my Metro-North ticket last Saturday at Grand Central upon returning from Connecticut after a day trip. Millions of others do it daily as well. It is the Pullman part that makes it interesting. Our long-lost friend used his ticket for a bookmark, which yesterday I found nearly a century later. I have it magnetted to the refrigerator.
Unfortunately the handwriting is so bad that I cannot make out the destination or even the date. The book from which it fell was published in 1927, so I assume it is from around that time. I am guessing that this was not a sleeper car. The fare was $.75, which indicates it was more of a commuter trip than long-distance journey. I plugged that amount into an inflation calculator and the fare would be the equivalent in today’s dollars to ~$10-12. Certainly an overnight ride cost more than that, but I really don’t know. The railroads were hugely important in American society until as recently as the late 1950s and early 1960s, not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. It was the airplane, the automobile, and the Highway Act of 1956 that dealt the fatal blows. Yesterday like an autumn leaf a little reminder of that old world fell on the living room floor.
MARK LEVITCH said:
Hey Keith, I think the route is Chicago to Kalamazoo. According to Craig Sanders’ Limiteds, Locals, and Expresses in Indiana, 1838-1971, three trains ran the route daily from the mid-20s to 1933 (Google books). Great find. Thanks for sharing.
Keith Muchowski said:
Thanks for the comment, Mark. Now that you point it out I can kind of see it in the handwriting. I hope you have been well too, btw. The centennial seems so long ago now.
Randy Hyden said:
Great post, Keith, sometimes I think I am reading my own words.Right in my line of looking at something simple and being struck by it.
Keith Muchowski said:
Thanks, Randy. What struck me the most about the ticket was its very ordinariness. It was just a piece of everyday life that managed to be saved by chance and came to light by accident all these years later.