Yellowstone National Park 1931-32 – Continued!

Continuing with my Dad’s west coast adventures, I have more old postcards from Yellowstone. He was good at buying postcards and actually writing messages on them, addressing them, and then not sending them! All of the postcards in my possession contain no stamp or postal cancellation. So, I must assume that he just brought the cards back to Kentucky when he returned. I do hope he did manage to send other cards to all these people. After all, he was asking them to write! If you’re just joining us here, please feel free to visit the three posts leading up to this one. For the beginning of the story, click here to open Riding the Rails During the Great Depression, click here  to open Dad’s Tour of the West Coast During the Great Depression, and click here to open Yellowstone National Park 1931-32. Each link will open in a new tab.

It seems he stayed out West a lot longer than I ever thought. He and his friends arrived in Oregon in April 1931 during the Depression. I now believe they went West seeking better employment opportunities. After some touring and spending time with friends in Santa Barbara, he got employment that summer at Yellowstone National Park. He indicated on some of the cards that he would be in Yellowstone until September/October and then would return to Santa Barbara (or the California coast) for the winter. He never talked much about it to me when I was growing up. Oh, the opportunities we miss to learn about our family and heritage. Anyway, about the only thing I ever remember him saying is that one should never want to cross the path of the grizzly bear.

The cards were made by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., 341 Selby Ave., St. Paul, Minn. and Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.

Click on each Today for additional information. Please enjoy the cards!


Punch Bowl Spring, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park is a good example of the built-up-rim type of hot springs. The Punch Bowl is always turbulent but never erupts, and its water is very hot.

Today: This boiling, intermittent spring has produced a sinter lip that raises it above the basin floor. That “punch bowl” appearance gave this feature its name.


Colter Peak, Yellowstone Lake, was named for John Colter, the first white man ever to visit the region. In his wanderings of 1807, he discovered the park after leaving the famous Lewis and Clark expedition on its return trip.

Today: Elevation 10,640 feet (3,240 m) is a mountain peak in the Absaroka Range in the southeastern section of Yellowstone National Park. The peak is named for mountain man John Colter, reputedly the first white man to visit the Yellowstone region. Colter Peak was first ascended in 1870 by Lt. Gustavus Cheyney Doane and Nathaniel P. Langford during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition. Henry D. Washburn, the expedition leader named the peak for Langford and Doane.


Angel Terrace, Mammoth, Yellowstone Park, is near the road and is generally admired. It was first called Haynes Spring, for F. J. Haynes, but at his request the name was changed in the late 1880’s to Angel Terrace.

Today: Known both for the pure white formations and colorful microorganisms of its active periods, Angel Terrace is one of the area’s most unpredictable features. For decades it was dry and crumbling. More recently, hot springs have been intermittently active in parts of the formation.


The travertine (calcium carbonate) terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs are formed by the overflowing limeladen hot water. Four factors are held responsible for this:  the cooling of the water, evaporation, the giving off of the carbonic acid gas dissolved in it, and the absorption of lime by the algae — a low form of plant life.

Today: Jupiter Terrace displays cycles of activity. In the 1980s Jupiter Terrace flowed so heavily that it overtook boardwalks several times.  It has been dry since 1992, but when active, its color and intricate terraces make Jupiter an appealing spring.


Dunraven Pass, 8859 Ft., Yellowstone Park, was named for the late Earl of Dunraven, who made some memorable trips in the region in the early days, and published an interesting book about the park. It is on the side of Mt. Washburn between that mountain and Dunraven Peak.

Today: Dunraven Pass is the highest road pass in Yellowstone National Park, and because of this, it can get snow at any time of year– even summer.  It’s always the first to close during a regional snow storm, and it is always the first road to close in the fall as Yellowstone Park winds down for the winter. 


The beautiful Dragons Mouth Spring of hot, clear water contrasts with its near neighbor the Mud Volcano which belches boiling mud. These are two contrasting types of thermal springs of which Yellowstone has many.

Today: Temperature 170.2°F Dimensions 18×30 feet. Depth 16 feet. Dragon’s Mouth is a turbulent hot spring with a cavernous mouth. Water sloshes rhythmically in and out of the cavern giving the impression of a large overflow; however, the actual discharge is quite small. Much of the activity and energy is located within the cavern. As hot water rises to the surface, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and water vapor gases expand creating a pressure explosion in the cavern. The resulting activity is sloshing, belching, and steaming.


Shoshone Canyon and Tunnel. Several tunnels through solid volcanic rock were drilled in building the scenic highway from Cody, Wyoming to the Eastern boundary of the park, which is one of the most popular routes to the Yellowstone.

Today: The (Buffalo Bill) dam was part of the Shoshone Project, which comprised a system of tunnels, canals, diversion dams, and Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Today, the project irrigates more than 93,000 acres, where principal crops are beans, alfalfa, oats, barley, and sugar beets. Although the number of irrigated acres never reached the 150,000 acres originally projected by project proponents, the figure has increased steadily over the years: from 25,753 acres in 1915 to 41,331 acres in 1928 to 77,560 acres in 1953.


Cleopatra Terrace, Yellowstone Park, is one o the large group of travertine, (calcium carbonate), formations at Mammoth Hot Springs over which the hot water trickles, building beautiful successions of ledges colored with delicate shades of brown and yellow by low forms of plant life called algae.

Today: Due to confusion related to the intermittent nature of many of the springs in the Mammoth Area, the name Cleopatra Spring has been given to at least three different springs over the years. As the confusion developed the original Cleopatra Spring came to be called Minerva Spring.


Apollinaris Spring, Yellowstone Park, became so popular with the greatly increasing patronage of the park that the paths and the natural well were replaced in 1925 by a stone structure, areaway and fountains for the added conveniences of the thousands who come to be refreshed.

TodayApollinaris Spring, located on Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Loop Road about five miles south of Indian Creek campground and 2½ miles north of Obsidian Cliff, is a cold, mineral water spring that was a stopping place for thirsty Yellowstone travelers for about 100 years.


Mt. Washburn, 10,346 ft., Yellowstone Park, was named for H. D. Washburn, leader of the exploring party of 1870 and Surveyor General of Montana. The trip to the summit of the promontory is well worth taking.

Today: If you can accomplish only one hike in Yellowstone, this is the hike. No other single trail provides as much in the way of scenery, wildflowers and wildlife as the Mount Washburn Trail. This also is one of the best evening or sunset hikes, but the drawback is that the return is in the dark.


Oops! I missed this one. It should have been on the last post with the picture of the Hotel! Anyway —

Lake Hotel Dining Room, Yellowstone Park, is an indication of the facilities provided for patrons of the Yellowstone Park hotels which are comparable to the large city hostelries, although many miles from the nearest city of railroad. From this room a splendid view of Yellowstone Lake is to be had.

Today: The Lake Yellowstone Hotel Dining Room offers tempting preparations for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Our new fresh fish dinner entrées include wild Alaska Halibut and Salmon.  Unique specialty sandwiches and entrée salads are offered at lunch. Treat yourself to the Portabella Melt for breakfast!

Dad’s Tour of the West Coast During the Great Depression

Back in January 2013, I made my first ever blog entry entitled Riding the Rails During the Great Depression. It was primarily excerpts from a short travel diary my father kept in 1931, during the depression, when he and a number of his buddies rode the rails from Ashland, KY to Washington State. If you have an interest in checking out the first part, you can click on the italicized title above and you should be taken there for a quick review. In this diary, he makes references to pictures taken with his camera. I’m afraid I don’t have any of those which is a major disappointment.

When I last left off, the train had entered Portland, Oregon and he was talking about how beautiful everything was.

I checked my things at the Y and caught a street car over to Vancouver. I met Mr. and Mrs. James and also got a square meal. I came back over to Portland that afternoon and ate at the Y then I got a room in the Byron Hotel. I signed up for a week.

I don’t know who Mr. and Mrs. James were. Probably family of some friends back in Ashland who were being hospitable to the out-of-towner. I read a little about the YMCA in Portland during that time period. The little bit I read, it seems that the Y didn’t have such a good reputation at that time and maybe that’s why he moved on to the Hotel.

Portland YMCA

Portland YMCA

Hotel Byron

We took in the sights that nite and then got a good nite’s sleep. Six of us went to the Baptist Church the next morning to Sunday school.

That evening Mr. O’Neal from Medford hunted us up and took Tussey, Elsworth, and myself for a ride. We also played a round of Golf.

The Oregon O’Neals were related to an O’Neal family in Ashland that Dad and his friends knew and they had agreed to host them. I never knew that Dad had ever had any interest in golf, let alone that he played the game when he was young.

Sunday nite was spent taking in the sights again.

Monday was also spent in seeing the sights and we left Portland at 6:00 o’clock Monday p.m. headed south.

We ate a swell supper in Salem (the State capital). That nite we stayed in a tourist cabin. We were on the road again at 5:00 headed for a little place called Detroit. The fellow told us that he would have plenty of work for us if we would wait 10 days. We didn’t want to wait. Left at Mill City a Mr. Allen showed us through a big lumber mill, it sure was a big one too. I believe I’d rather work in the steel mill.

As I read through his diary and noted references to little bits and pieces of information, it seems that his trip out West was not just a “vacation” and to see the sights. It is becoming more apparent to me that he and his buddies went West looking for work. Perhaps the only kind of work available during the depression in Kentucky and the surrounding area might have been at one of the steel mills. I can’t imagine how hard that kind of work would have been. It sounds like he maybe checked out the steel mills before heading West and the lumber mills were giving him a new perspective!

Mill City was on the Santiam River. I snapped a couple of pictures of the river. 

Santiam River

Santiam River

Our next stop was at a lumber camp on Lost Creek a branch of the Williamette[sic] about 100 miles from Mill City. I got a few pictures of the logs there.

Mill operations on Lost Creek, tributary to Middle Fork Willamette River

Mill operations on Lost Creek, tributary to Middle Fork Willamette River

I wish I had the pictures he had taken…

We then came back to Eugene. The site of the Univ. of Ore. I stayed that nite at a ranch at Creswell, 12 miles from Eugene. We shot the bow & arrow and I accidently won it. I hit the bullseye out of my first 6 shots.

The next morning we went to a construction camp on the Williamette[sic] River, about 80 miles from the Camp. I snapped a few pictures there too.

That afternoon we played a game of Golf in Eugene then we saw the Univ. of Ore. Beat the Univ. of Idaho 17 to 0 in a baseball game. 

Oregon State College 1931

Oregon 1931

Mr. O’Neal asked us if we wanted the car to go to the dance that night. Of course we did so we shaved, washed and cleaned up and were off. I had to talk a long time before he would let us in free.

They don’t dance like we do back home so we didn’t have much fun. I tried to dance with some dame that said her name was Sybil Cornutt but it was a flop. After the dance we passed them walking down the street. They were plenty willing to take a ride and so were we. And did we have fun. We arrived home at 3 bells.

Dame? He said dame? It must have been the times. Maybe they got that from all the movies or gangster quotes like from Al Capone! You know, the Al Capone they couldn’t find listed in the phone directory when their train stopped in Chicago! Anyway, I was curious about this Sybil Cornutt. Other than Dad’s buddies, it was the only name he wrote. So, curious cat that I am, I did some Googling. I had hoped to find a picture or something to make her come more to life. I did find her on a couple of genealogy sites and suffice it to say that Sybil Cornutt was born in Oregon on September 16, 1910.  Same year Dad was born! It fits.

After a 3 hour rest we were on the road to Medford. We picked up Paul Vaughan and Chas. Ball, 2 of the gang. They said they were going to Tulsa, Okla.

Sam and I stayed that nite at Mr. O’Neal’s in Medford and again we got the car.

The next day we took a trip to the Ore. Caves, 4500 ft upon a mountain. It sure was a beautiful trip.

Oregon Caves

Cliff Nature Trail to Oregon Caves

Cliff Nature Trail2 -

View from Cliff Nature Trail

Sam and I went to a show to-nite. We saw Joe E. Brown in “Maybe It’s Love” and it sure was good.

Maybe It's Love 1930 Source: Wikepedia

Maybe It’s Love 1930
Source: Wikepedia

This morning, Sat. May 2, we were up bright and early and off for a trip to Crater Lake. The sun is shining bright in the Valley, but there’s clouds around the top of the mts. As we go up the Mt. we run into rain and it begins to get cooler. As we continue to climb, we hit patches of snow and then nothing but snow. As we near the top of the Mt. where the lake is, the rain turns into snow and it sure is cold. There is about 10 ft. of snow on top of the Mt. and the lake sure is beautiful. It’s cloudy though and I’m afraid my pictures won’t be very good. The lake is about 20 miles across but it doesn’t look 2.

Crater Lake and Wizard Island

Crater Lake and Wizard Island

As we come back down the Mt. the snow turns to rain and then into sunshine and back into warm weather again. It hasn’t even rained a drop in the Valley.

Sun. morning we took a fishing trip up in the Canyons of the Rogue River. I turned out to be a poor fisherman but I did hold my own with the rifle.

I wonder what he meant by a “poor fisherman”? Because, as he got older and was looking forward to retirement (before he lost his health), he used to always say he wanted to spend his retirement fishing. So, maybe he just meant that he was a poor fisherman that day because he didn’t catch anything.

Rogue National Wild and Scenic River

Rogue National Wild and Scenic River

We had ice cream and cake for supper.

Mmm, sounds like my kind of eatin’!!

This morning, Mon. 4th, I walked about a mile to a gasoline station to see about a job but I was too late. He had just hired a fellow.

Well at 2 o’clock this afternoon I took a notion I wanted to go to Santa Barbara, Calif. So I shipped 2 shirts, my bathing suit and some toilet articles on ahead and lit out with only my camera.

My first ride was with a fellow in a Star Coupe. He said he was going 75 miles down the trail. I only rode 13 with him cause I didn’t like his looks. I got out in a place called Ashland. They had the State Normal School there and plenty of fun women. My next ride was in a Paige Coupe for about 200 miles to a place called Redding, it is in Calif. It is so damn hot here that I’m about to croak.

1929 Graham  Paige Coupe

1929 Graham Paige Coupe

1926 Star Coupe

1926 Star Coupe

The bed is clean but as hard as a rock. So good nite until tomorrow.

Well, that’s the end of Dad’s writings about his trip. Sigh… It’s not the end of his trip, though. I do know he had an uncle living in Santa Barbara. I have bits and pieces of information from here and there about his summer in the West. I thought at first this was just a trip to the west coast to do some sightseeing and then return home again. Suffice it to say, I’ve been surprised. I haven’t calculated how much time was spent but with travel and various jobs, it was definitely months! So I’ve got my work cut out to try and put it all together. So, on that note, in my Dad’s words, good nite until tomorrow (the next time)!

Letter to Polly

Polly Ann Burgess Arthur

Polly Ann Burgess Arthur

Polly Ann Burgess Arthur is my paternal grandmother. The transcribed letter below is from her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Miller Arthur, written on November 21, 1910, while in London, England. Elizabeth and her husband, Luther Arthur (brother to Polly’s husband, Benjamin Baxter Arthur), were on a cruise from America to England to Cape Town, South Africa, to Australia. I have been unable to determine to date whether this trip was for business or pleasure or both.

Elizabeth makes reference in the letter to J.P. (John Preston) and wondering what he thinks of his little brother. At the time Elizabeth was writing, she did not know that Polly had given birth to a second son. She tells Polly that Lou says if it’s a boy he wants it named after him. Little did they know, he had already been named Luther Paul (my father) and so Lou (Luther) got his wish. What no one knew at the time was that Polly would pass away in 1912 of pulmonary consumption at the tender age of 24.

Letter from Elizabeth

Nov. 21, 1910

Dear Pollie, No doubt you are wondering where we are at by this time. We are also wondering where you all are and how everything is. I certainly hope all is well with you. Lou says if it is a boy you must name it after him. I don’t know where to address this but will send it to Pa Arthur’s and they can forward it to you wherever that is.

We have been here for three weeks and don’t leave until the 15th of Dec. on the “Medic” of the White Star Line. And then we are due in Sidney the 5th of February so we will be nearly seven weeks on the water from here. We like the sea very much. Lou said he didn’t care if we ever landed. We were seven days getting here. Lou was not sea-sick at all but I was sick the 5th day out. It was very rough. The “Arabic” would nearly turn over on her side and the waves sweep over the deck. Nearly everybody was sick that day. But it is a grand night to be out at sea and we had a fine time.

The “Arabic” has a five piece orchestra of its own and there was an opera troupe on board so we had all kinds of music and singing. Some of it was as fine as I had ever heard too. The meals were fine.

We came from Liverpool to London by rail and so got to see quite a great deal of the country. It is lovely. Far ahead of the U.S.A. but I hate to say it. We don’t like London very well, though, of course, there is plenty to see here and all that but it has rained nearly every day since we got here and when it don’t rain there is a fog that you can’t see across the street. I said the other day if it looked that way in the U.S. we would think the world was coming to an end. We have been taking in everything and have seen some wonderful sights. Last week was Lord Mayor’s day here and there was a parade about two hours long and the Royal carriage with the King himself was in it. We were real close to him and so had a good chance of seeing what a real king was like! Which is very much like any other man only he looks pretty well fed and well dressed. I will try to tell you about it some day.

Everything seems to be about the same price as the U.S. that is to take it all around. Clothes are some cheaper. But little things that you can buy at the 5 & 10 cents store you would have to pay fifty cents for here and markets are about the same only some fruits are much cheaper. Postal cards are 2 cents each and poor ones at that. You can get the best in N.Y. ten for 5 cents.

Now you can write me at once and tell me all and where you are and what Bro. Ben is doing. And how everybody is at Pa Arthur’s, and how J.P. is and what he thinks of his little brother and please don’t forget. Write anything for Lou as he’s been wondering if Ben is in war yet and if it’s a boy ever since we left. So write as soon as you get this and address it with ink to Mrs. Luther Arthur, S.S. “Medic”, c/o Messrs. W. Anderson and Co., Cape Town, South Africa.

I am enclosing a postal of the “Arabic” the ship we came over on. One each for you, Jennie and Helen from London. They are not good ones but the best ones I have to send at present. Will try to send some better ones later. I hope this finds you all well and happy and to hear from you soon. Lou looks well, also myself.

We stop at Cape Town and will get your letter then if you write at once. I guess that is all for this time. With love to all. Elizabeth

Everybody here speaks very highly of Australia. I can’t hardly wait until we get there.

The SS Arabic was an ocean liner which entered service in 1903 for the White Star Line. She was sunk on 19 August 1915 by the German submarine U-24, 50 mi (80 km) south of Kinsale. Her sinking caused a diplomatic incident.

The SS Arabic was an ocean liner which entered service in 1903 for the White Star Line. She was sunk on 19 August 1915 by the German submarine U-24, 50 mi (80 km) south of Kinsale. Her sinking caused a diplomatic incident.

SS Medic was a steamship built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the White Star Line in 1899. Medic was one of five "Jubilee Class"ocean liners built specifically to service the Liverpool-Cape Town-Sydney route.

SS Medic was a steamship built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast for the White Star Line in 1899. Medic was one of five “Jubilee Class”ocean liners built specifically to service the Liverpool-Cape Town-Sydney route.

Riding the Rails During the Great Depression

From Ashland, KY to Portland, OR - 1931

From Ashland, KY to Portland, OR – 1931

In 1931, at the age of 20, my Dad and 7 of his friends left their homes in Kentucky and headed West on the rails during the Great Depression. Dad kept a little diary of the trip in a small notebook written in pencil.

Following are a few excerpts from his travel diary (written in blue italics) with some of my own comments inserted in regular text:

The date is Wednesday, April 22, 1931.  It’s raining and snowing.  I have a one-way ticket to Portland, Ore. We catch train No. 1 bound for Cincinnati and bid Ashland goodbye at 8:55 a.m. There are eight of us. All nice fellows to be sure. Their names are Charles E. Ball, Bennet Tussey, Sam Elsworth and myself of Ashland. Paul A. Vaughan of Ironton, O. Charles R. “Buzz” Waldron of Russell, Ky. Kenneth Ames of Catlettsburg, Ky. And Louis E. Hannon of Maysville, Ky.

Wouldn’t it be just so much fun to travel across country by rail. To be able to see this country without all of the hustle and bustle of “hurry up and get there”. I just did a curiousity search on Amtrack for today’s fares from Ashland, KY to Portland, OR.  Looks like for a reserved coach seat the price  ranges from $326 to $440 one way.  Quite a difference in cost from the 30’s………

We are stopped by a C&O agent in Cinn. who tells us that we can’t take the Big 4 train out of there on the ticket. We slip around and ask the Conductor of the Big 4 and he says it’s all right so that saves us 24 hours delay but loses $150.00 for the C&O. We leave Cinn. at 1:00 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:45 p.m. 

Chicago in the 30’s! My, but that conjures up a lot of images. Of course, all my images are from history books and old movies. I think of Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart.  Dad’s next entry just made me laugh. Although if I landed in Chicago in the 30’s, I probably would have done the exact same thing………

After eating a big supper we try to find Al Capone’s name in the telephone book but don’t have any luck though.

A penny? Just a penny? Sheesh, the government now wants to eliminate them altogether………

A few minutes later a drunk wants to borrow a penny from us. It isn’t long till he is kicked out by the cop in the Depot.

Well, we’re on the Portland Rose at last. It leaves at 10:15 just 2 ½ hours after we arrive. We all stretch out in the seat and prepare for a night’s rest. We can’t afford a sleeper.

We cross the Miss. River just after midnite. I wake up in Ames, Iowa Thursday morning just at daylight. The next town of any importance was Omaha, Neb. We arrived there at 9:45 a.m.

We only have 20 minutes to find a restaurant. We don’t have any too much time either for the train is ready to go when we get back.  It’s snowing pretty hard but it isn’t sticking. 10:05 and we leave Omaha.

We pass through a town called Columbus but it isn’t in Ohio.  It happens to be in Nebraska.

I’ve seen this same scene in some of the old black and white movies I watch. I can picture it all so easily………

Well, the big time is now starting, all 8 of us are in the smoker. Buzz is playing a French harp and we are all singing. We’re getting a big hand from the passengers out in the coach.

We pass on through North Platte, Julesburg, Sidney and Cheyenne at 8:25. It seems that we went into Colorado at Julesburg and right back out again. Everything is white with snow and we can see plenty of jackrabbits and pheasants.

We travel on through Laramie, Rawling and Green River but it isn’t a drink. I had to consult my timetable cause I was asleep. At 6:00 we’re just coming into Kemmerer. We leave Wyoming and enter Idaho at Pegram. We don’t stop though. The train stops 5 minutes at Montpelier and 10 minutes at Pocatello. We stop a minute at Boise, the capital of Idaho, and I get a snapshot of the Depot and the mountains. We get another picture at Nampa.

I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest. I’m sure it was magnificent then because it’s still beautiful now………

We got into Oregon in Nyssa and right back out again. We’re on the Snake River. We stop at Huntington, Oregon and change our watch for the 2nd time since we left home. We pass through the Columbia River Gorge and follow the river on into Portland. It sure was beautiful. We passed waterfalls, one that fell 600 feet. Cliffs that rise 500 and 600 feet straight into the air. Every once in a while I can see the highway about halfway up the mountain. It is just too beautiful for words. We arrived in Portland at 7:45 Saturday morning. 

Seems to be the cry of the times………

One of the boys made a wise one.  He said that we couldn’t get lost because we wasn’t goin anyplace. 

So there is the first part of the trip. I remember a train ride I had as a child in the 50’s. That’s another story for another time!

Statistics indicate that during the Great Depression approximately 250,000 teenagers (out of about four million jobless) were riding the rails. 

In 1932, Southern Pacific agents ejected 683,457 trespassers from the company’s trains. The price of trespassing on the rails was high: The Interstate Commerce Commission recorded 5,962 trespassers killed and injured in the first 10 months of 1932. See PBS.ORG for more information on Riding the Rails during The Great Depression.