On the Rails: Minneapolis to San Francisco: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 3

1913 Wed Oct 1 Wed Mrs Haley and Nellie came up in the evening. We had a pleasant time.

Oct 2 Thurs Mooved into the New Flat at 1109 E. 17 st. A beautiful sunny day Frank Hoffman [Eilene’s husband] moved us in his auto-truck. Dewey went down to Haleys and got some pickles and preserves Mrs. Haley so kindly gave us. It was so difficult to sort our stuff, that and it took us so long to move, we didn’t get started on our long journey to San Francisco. Well good Bye to our old home at 1027 st. N.E.

4027 5th St NE Columbia Heights, Minneapolis as it looks today from Google

Oct 3 Friday Helped unpack in new flat. Made Lolitas new gingham dress. Jessie and Dewey rented an old oil stove and we cooked a square meal and did some ironing. Went down town and bought a new suit case and some stockings. Jessie and Dewey put us up a fine lunch and after supper we all went down to the Union Depot at Minneapolis to catch the 8 oclock train. Missed our train and took the one at 11:15. Emma Hollis and children were at the depot with a fine lunch for us. Leo and Eilene arrived on the run after we had boarded our train. Tearful and heart wrenching goodby and we were off.

Soon after starting and we soon found out is was the Union Depot in St. Paul. It burned up completely We were held up there about 45 min.

Union Depot, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Oct 4 Sat Woke up in car speeding southward through Iowa. Along in the A.M it began to rain and the car leaked all over. We happened to have a dry place and were very glad when we arrived at Omaha.

Boarded a train at 4:30 for Frisco. Couldn’t get a berth there but was very fortunate to get one at [Schuyler] Neb in time to turn in. Slept rather cold but better than the night before when we occupied seats.

Oct 5 Sun Woke up in morning in Berth 13 after good nights rest. Breakfasted and wrote some postcards and mailed them at Cheyenne. The road west is a steady climb to Buford [7851] feet above sea level. Then Sherman where they get the gravel for the road bed. The road gets more hilly and rocky as we proceed the scattered pine trees unusually small. We passed the “lonsome pine” top of trunk bare but still boasting green branches bravely. The rocks are mostly red granite not a bit like the gray limestone of Minnesota.

Then we came to Laramine. The mountains in the distance look quite like the pictures of them one sees everywhere. Frank just came in from the smoker to say I must put down “Mosiers Here” so he gets into the record but dont know how long he’ll stay. The most notable thing we were able to see from the car windows was a girl clad in bright scarlet that waved as we passed. We are now speeding westward over the Wyoming prairies with nothing much to see but a lonely ranch here and there mostly the latter.

It is now 3 o’clock. At 10 min to 4 we ran into a light snow which turned into a blizzard in 10 min more. Through the flying flakes we could discern a large board sign painted with white letters W A T C H T H E C R O P S G R O W. Ground is already white. 1 hr later we left the storm behind and sailed into the sunshine but it soon clouded over again, although at sunset the sun went down behind the hills in the most approved fashion. I thought many times Leo and I sang the song, “Now the sun is in the west” and of course the foolish ineffectual tears would flow. My boys and my girls God help me but its hard to say good bye. Its Sun eve and I suppose you are all at church and I know praying for me as I shall do for you. We have had our supper and are waiting for the porter to make up the births for another rock a by night on the old U.P. [Union Pacific] good night.

Oct. 6 Mon Bitter cold and snow greeted us upon awakening this morning a few mi out of Ogden, Utah and a heavy pelting of hard snow was our farewell from that little town under the big bluff. We soon left the snow behind and came upon the wide far reaching flat that was once part of Salt Lake. Next appeared the lake itself along the low northern banks of which we hurled awhile and then the train took us right out on to it! I thought our steamboat ride in Minnetonka the 4th which seemed rather tame in comparison. High mountainous bluffs surround its irregular shore and every few minutes one is surprised with a startling feature. At first the iridescent mud colored expanse flat as a pancake. Then just lake. Then the island of red rock then more lake. On our right where the water lapped the shore it appeared of a bright red color surrounded by a few inches of white salt. A little further on the water appeared of a beautiful sea green and “Every little water had its night cap on.”

So very, very early in the morning. A pretty sight with the purple mountains to the N.E. and a mud peat in the distant North. Not long after we ran into the Great American Desert which is a great stretch of sand bordered by mountains. Later we passed the line into Nevada. It seems to be quite the same in general appearance.

At 3:15 we stopped at a little town named Carlin in Nev. for 15 min. We ran out – mailed a letter to J&D and bought 10¢ worth of sugar 25¢ peaches & 5¢ celery. In Cheyenne on Sunday we bought a Sunday paper 5¢ a bottle of wild cherry phosphate 50¢ a fruit 15¢ buns 10¢ bread 15 and a pie 10¢

Later in the day we passed through Battle Mountain Nev. Here we saw quite a number of Mexicans and their little village of huts. We passed through Reno and the snow sheds after dark.

Tue. Oct 7 Getting into Gods Country again. Human looking habitations. Christian looking fields and meadows trees and shrubs. Stopped in Sacramento 15 min.

Ran up town and bought “for 10¢” some delicious grapes. Passed through Stockton where Allie lived so long and on through agriculture lands to Oakland. Here we left the train that had carried us so far in safety and took the boat for the Ferry Building across the bay.

San Francisco Ferry Building 1913

We soon landed but no Allie could we see so the lady we became acquainted with on the way Miss Eunice Summer showed us to a Hotel, the Winchester, where we passed a very pleasant and restful night.

Winchester Hotel San Francisco

Wed Oct 8 Cool with slight sprinkle of rain. Felt weak and languid. Went out and breakfasted in a funny little basement restaurant where we ate on a bare table out of crockery ½ in thick, a substantial breakfast of pork sausages fried, hot coffee, bread & butter and cereal all for 15¢. Later when we returned to the Hotel I ran into Allie in the corridor. May be I wasn’t glad to see him. He had engaged rooms at 1712½ Fell Street for us and we went right up after he had seen the gas people. At – present- I am waiting for them to return from hunting commissary and work. Soon I’ll be settled down to housekeeping in earnest.

Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2021. All RIghts Reserved.

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