Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Southern Pacific Railroad advertisement featuring Santa Cruz, 1885

Enlarge Image
Southern Pacific Railroad advertisement featuring Santa Cruz, 1885
Palo Alto Historical Association


This object appears in the following sections:

Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876
Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 — Changes the Railroad Brought

The Octopus

American railroads in the country's Centennial year

Santa Cruz tourism advertisment
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
By 1885, the Southern Pacific owned the Santa Cruz Railroad's line, and had turned it into a broad gauge line. The Southern Pacific had real estate interests in Monterey Bay, and it was in their best corporate interest to promote rail travel generally. The term "broad gauge" in the poster advertises that passengers from San Francisco could reach Santa Cruz or Monterey without having to change to narrow-gauge trains. By the end of the 19th century, Santa Cruz became a popular weekend destination for summer tourists.
Physical Description
Date Made:
Santa Cruz
As railroads spread across the nation, the large corporations that controlled them became an increasingly important factor in American life. The Southern Pacific Railroad controlled the western part of the original transcontinental connection, as well as a line that snaked up through California, taking travelers from San Francisco, through Los Angeles, and onto to El Paso and New Orleans. This 'monopoly' on the rails meant the most Californians had to do business with the Southern Pacific. Like many other railroad companies of the day, the Southern Pacific promoted leisure travel and tourism to boost their passenger business.

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits