Snail's Postcard Post

The Odd Glimpse of the West Coast

Today I sold a few books at Stories Books and Cafe in Los Angeles’ Echo Park. Then I gave half the money back because I noticed a box of vintage postcards and of course I had to buy one or two (two). 

IMG_5799IMG_5800Dear Ope–Am I ever henpecked–for heaven’s sake! I’ve needed you a thousand times–the guy won’t even let me out for one of these things until its running down my leg
I wonder what the story is behind this one! Sounds like Maggie’s Farm.


Thought this was quite picturesque, and that it was unusual for a midcentury postcard. (Much as I love them for their vintage and kitsch attributes, most midcentury scenic shots are UG-LY!) This one captures the California coast perfectly, and sends me imagining what it was like to ride in an old-time passenger train right along the bluffs that drop to the Pacific.

While reading a bit on the Coast Daylight online, I found Wikipedia has this exact photo in its archives. It’s dated 1957. The Coast Daylight Wikipedia page has a other nice Coast Daylight photos too, if you want to see more. 

Here’s what I learned: Considered by some to be the most beautiful passenger train in the world, the red, orange and black Coast Daylight ran from 1937-1971. Replacing the Daylight Limited, which set the route in 1922, the Coast Daylight cut the nine-stop trip down from an already “speedy” 12 hours, to 9 3/4, thanks to the G2 streamlined locomotives that pulled it. While most streamliners converted to diesel in the late ’40s, the Coast Daylight ran on steam until 1955. In the ’60s, the Southern Pacific Railroad started to suffer. To cut costs, the railroad set up Automats in the traditional dining cars. (For a cool Automat postcard and a bit about that phenomenon, check out this post.) In 1971, Southern Pacific handed Amtrak the railroad switch. The classic era of the Coast Daylight was over, but the trains kept on chugging with the route extended all the way to Seattle.  

Finally, here’s a freebie I picked up. IMG_5803


detail on the back:IMG_5804  For more vibrant Mexicana postcards, check out this Dia de los Muertos post. For more cheeky burlesque, see this one.

¡Adios, amigos!




This entry was published on June 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm. It’s filed under This Just In! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “The Odd Glimpse of the West Coast

  1. Antonette DeVito on said:

    I was at Stories Fri night & saw the postcards & thought of you. Hugs!

  2. Great collection. I have an odd collection that you may like to see

    Keep up finding such amazements

    • Thanks, Roger! I wanted to reply on your blog, but didn’t see a comment space. I loved your postcard of the smiling older couple at the cemetery, the people staring at the dead fish, and the “Greetings from Holland” with a picture of the pyramids of Giza!

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