Coming Home By Rail

Divided Back postcard. Postmarked from Loudonville, Ohio, October 10, 1908.

Price:  $10.00

Railway days…….

There are other “Coming Home By Rail” postcards that can be found online; the joke, of course, being that the person is not traveling by train but walking along the railroad ties to get home. And due to the frequent occurrence of the expression in U. S. newspapers, (1872 is the earliest we found,) we assume it was American in origin. In the 1910’s (not surprisingly) it was still going strong, becoming less common as more and more people became proud car owners. The last mention we found was in 1952 (must have been an old-timer who wrote that article ūüėČ ).

For a twist on the original gag, here’s a clip from the U. K., from the¬†Kent and Sussex Courier, 1923:

Friends, Orpha and Bertha…..

Postcard addressed to:¬† ¬†“Miss Bertha Yoder, North Manchester Ind. “College.”

The sender wrote:¬† ¬†“Hello Bertha. That address is:¬† Mr. C. U. Slifer. Abilene, Kansas. Hope you will receive the picture O.K. Pardon me for not getting the address sooner.”

“Do not think that I have forgotten you altho’ my silence seems to imply as much. I have been away visiting. Tell Cora that I saw her bro. Clyde at our District Meeting last week. Kindly remember me to Cora and all others that I do not know. Be good till I see you. Bye bye, Orpha. No.¬†[North] Manchester about Oct. 20. Girlie tell all the pretty boys that I am coming and speak a good word for me. Do not forget. Ha! Ha! Lovingly, Orpha W.”

The given name Orpha was not terribly uncommon around the time this postcard was sent. The town of Loudonville, Ohio is located in Holmes and Ashland counties. Rather surprisingly, we weren’t able to find definite matches for either Orpha or Bertha.

Sources:¬† “The Yale Exploring Expedition of 1871.” The Watertown News (Watertown, Wisconsin). April 3, 1872. Wednesday, p. 1.¬†(

“Tonbridge Cricket Week.” Kent and Sussex Courier¬†(Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England).¬†June 22, 1923. Friday, p. 13. (

“County Party Line.”¬†¬†Ventura County Star-Free Press¬†(Ventura, California). July 10, 1952. Thursday, p. 6. (

Canadian National Railways Steam Engine 6218

Two vintage black and white steam engine photos, October 1966.

Price for set:¬† $10.00¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Size:¬† 3 and 1/2 x 5″ each.

October 1966, she’s a beauty….

The CN Steam engine 6218 (4-8-4). She’s moving away from us, toward our left. Note the engineer (?) in the first photo, with his head out the window – he’s easy to miss, as he blends in a little. This steam locomotive was built in 1942 by the Montreal Locomotive Works, was retired in 1959, then rebuilt and restored in 1963 and used for rail fan trips before being finally retired in 1971, obtained by the town of Fort Erie, Ontario in 1973 and moved in 1974 to the Fort Erie Railway Museum. Restoration of the engine and caboose has been badly needed for some decades. The most recent article we found on the subject, “RFP to plan 6218 restoration”¬† is dated Feb. 22, 2017 and appears in the online magazine Heritage Rail Alliance. And for more photos (1966 through 2010) see¬†

Acme Quality Paints, Inc.

That’s an Acme Paint sign in the background of both snapshots, but you can see it better in the shot on our right. Since these photos were found (at an antique store) on our last Detroit trip, and Acme Quality Paints started and had plants in Detroit (as well as other states) plus the fact that some of the photos in the railroad pictures link above were taken in October in Detroit, it’s a better guess than most that the photos’ location could have been Detroit. But maybe this post will jog some memories and someone can let us know, for sure.

Sources:  4-8-4. n.d. (accessed October 1, 2017).

“RFP to plan 6218 restoration.” September 22, 2017. Heritage Rail Alliance ( Accessed October 1, 2017.

Pictures of CN 6218. (accessed September 30, 2017).

Thompson, Kenneth, “Acme Paints, 75, Is ‘Here to Stay,’ ” Detroit Free Press. March 15, 1959, Sunday, p. 14. (

J. J. Mahoney, Trainmaster, Chicago & Alton Railroad

Business card. Circa 1900 – 1910, but see the comment below this post.

Price:¬† $15.00¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Size:¬† About 3 and 5/8 x 2 and 1/4″

A nice piece of history involving the Chicago & Alton Railroad:¬† the business card for Trainmaster, J. J. Mahoney. What’s a trainmaster you might ask? Here’s a definition from the Houston Chronical:

“The railroad industry employs many professionals that ensure the safety of trains, their passengers and cargo. A trainmaster oversees the safe departure and arrival of trains at a specific train terminal. They work with yardmasters, conductors and engineers to ensure trains arrive and depart in a timely manner. While other railroad professionals work outside on the train or in the railway yard, trainmasters spend a large majority of their time indoors communicating with staff on the trains.”

So, we did some web searching (per usual) for the full name of our trainmaster, but no luck. However, we did find him mentioned in the publication Railway Age Gazette, that was put out for the first half of the year, 1910:

“J. J. Mahoney, assistant superintendent of the Chicago & Alton at Bloomington, Ill., has been appointed superintendent of transportation of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, with office at Newton, Kan. The office of assistant superintendent of the Alton at Bloomington has been abolished.”

And we’ll add this post to our Unusual Occupations category, not that trainmaster is necessarily so unusual but rather in the probability that many (like myself until now) have never heard of this particular job title.

Sources:  Alton Railroad. n.d. (accessed September 22, 2017).

Michael, Elvis, “What Is A Railroad Trainmaster?” Houston Chronical. (accessed September 30, 2017).

Railway Age Gazette, January 1 – June 30, 1910, Vol. 48, no. 13. p. 916. (Google eBook).

Père Marquette Depot, Bangor, Michigan

Pere Marquette Depot Bangor Michigan pc1Pere Marquette Depot Bangor Michigan pc2

“Dare Cousons I thought wood send you card to let ya now I am picking haye[?] now I am will [well] and having good time – from Eathy to Milson.”

This Real Photo Postcard, circa 1910, shows a train at the Bangor, Michigan train depot, and some people waiting to board and/or having just disembarked. The caption on the postcard is in reference to the Père Marquette Railroad (later Railway) named in honor of the French Jesuit missionary and explorer, Père Jacques Marquette (1637 Р1675).

This particular Bangor is Bangor Township, a civil township in Van Buren County, and located west of Kalamazoo and close to the shores of Lake Michigan; not to be confused with the charter township of Bangor in Bay County, Michigan.

Several references were found online for the publisher. From a 1912 publication on the history of Van Buren County,¬† “…the Wagner Drug Company, has a large and flourishing trade throughout the village of Bangor and vicinity.”¬† This is in reference to Fred W. Reams, who in 1901 entered the drug store business with his father-in-law, H. D. Harvey, continuing with him for seven years. ….Looking further, we find reference of L. R. Wagner taking over from Harvey in 1909…. L. R. is Leonard R. Wagner, on the 1910 Federal Census, occupation Pharmacist, owning his own store, born in Michigan, about 1880; wife’s name Hattie (Dekruif) Wagner.

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. Circa 1910. Publisher:  Wagner Drug Co.

Price:  $4.00

Sources:  Jacques Marquette. n.d. (accessed May 5, 2015).

Rowland, Capt. O. W. (1912). A History of Van Buren County Michigan, Vol. 2. (p. 797). Chicago:  Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, 1912.

Biographies of Van Buren Citizens. “L. R. Wagner” U.S. GenWeb Project ( Web accessed Mary 5, 2015.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Bangor, Van Buren, Michigan; Roll: T624_676; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0149; FHL microfilm: 1374689

Pere Marquette Railway. n.d. (accessed May 5, 2015).

Seven Women In Alaska

Seven Women In Alaska pc1Seven Women In Alaska pc2

A blurry but interesting Real Photo Postcard that was marked¬† “Alaska”¬† on the little sticker on the plastic sleeve, showing a group of seven smiling ladies posing in front of what might be a wooden train depot or station of some type. That looks like a set of tracks on our right. All the ladies wear hats (nothing unusual) but three of the hats have an upright feather in the hatband. It looks like it’s summer or spring; they are dressed for mild weather, and there’s a couple of umbrellas in the group. Their skirt hemlines vary slightly above or below the ankle, except for that one daring lady in the back with the hemline just below the knee! The AZO stamp box with all four triangles pointing upward, and the fact that it’s a divided back, places the date at about 1907 – 1918.

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $3.00


Railstop pc1Railstop pc2

Here’s a really cool semi-candid Real Photo Postcard showing railroad workers at work, and a gentleman posed for the camera in the foreground, leaning against the train. It looks like they are at a rail stop, having just arrived or maybe getting ready to head out. Per the excellent website, that we go to often for dates on RPPCs, the estimated time frame for this postcard would be 1907 – 1917. It has a Velox stamp box showing diamonds in each corner and “Place Stamp Here” in the center.

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. Velox stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1917.

Price:  $6.00

Old Ironsides

Old Ironsides 1Old Ironsides 2

“Because of the success of Matthias W. Baldwin’s first locomotive, a small working model that ran on miniature tracks at the Philadelphia Museum in 1831, officials of the six-mile Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad (now part of the Reading system) ordered a full-size locomotive from him. Baldwin had so much difficulty in finding mechanics and securing tools to build her that he told a friend, ‘This is our last locomotive.’ But after completing the engine which was named Old Ironsides, he went on to new triumphs. Eventually he built locomotives for railroads all over the world, gaining a reputation as a builder second to none. Old Ironsides weighed 11,000 pounds, had a crank axle connected to two horizontal cylinders and made 28 miles an hour on a trial run, November 23, 1832, over trackage which previously mounted horse-drawn vehicles. – Reading Company”

Matthias William Baldwin (1795-1866) was an American inventor and machinist, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He was a jewelry maker and silversmith before partnering with machinist David Mason to produce equipment for printers and bookbinders. The need for more power to support the machine shop led to the building of steam engines, which led to the founding of one of the largest, most successful locomotive manufacturing firms in the United States: Baldwin Locomotive Works. A statue of Matthias Baldwin appears in front of Philadelphia’s city hall. Baldwin is also known for his support of charitable causes, was outspoken in his support to abolish slavery, and donated money to help establish a school for African-American children in Philadelphia.

The Reading (pronouncing “Redding”) Company was in operation from 1833-1976. Officially the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road (later Railway) and was one of the most successful railroad corporations in the U.S. This card is number four of a series, date printed unknown, possibly from the 1950s through the last possible year of 1976.