Daddy's Christmas Angel

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Imagine a Time Without Good Restaurants and Clean Hotels

"St. Louis Union Station Hotel" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Suppose you could travel back in time to 1869 and have your automobile instead of a covered wagon to journey cross country from St. Louis, then Independence, Missouri and on to Denver, Colorado. Even without the problems associated with the small wooden wagon, pulled probably by oxen, the trip would still be difficult by today's standards. After all, the road was rugged. There were no real bridges to cross rivers and streams. There were no motels or hotels and few places to find food of any kind.

I thought about my heroine Meg from A Rainbow for Christmas and wondered if her journey would have been difficult even in a car. Of course, there would be no gasoline, so that imaginary trip would have been impossible. Still, it would be fun today to follow along one of those wagon trails and imagine what the journey was like in 1869.

When the rails were laid for train tracks, things changed in a big way. It's wonderful and exciting to visit amazing old hotels today and realize they came along with the emerging railroad system. The El Tovar on the edge of the Grand Canyon, the Hotel Del Coronado across from San Diego, California, the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. These elaborate hotels and many more grew from the needs of railroad passengers, and they helped change our way of travel. They were constructed around the turn of the 20th Century, not that many years later than Meg's journey.

One of my favorite hotels is the one built around the old St. Louis Union Station. The railroad station dates back to the late 1800s. Trains fascinate me still, but I'm very glad people no longer travel by covered wagon.

Radio Broadcast
On December 9 at 8:05, I will be the radio guest of Neal Steele, XTRA 99.1 and will discuss A Rainbow for Christmas. A podcast of the live show will be available at the Chesapeake Bay Writers web site .


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm glad we have roads and cars now.
Good luck on the radio interview!!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

I'm glad, too! Thanks, Alex! It went well and the podcast is up, thanks to David Carr!

Marian Allen said...

No hotels? No restaurants? No ... no INDOOR PLUMBING? Thanks, anyway, but I think I'll stay back East! lol

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah I can't imagine what it'd be like to live in a covered wagon.

When I was small, I thought it sounded like a wonderful adventure. Now I'm not so sure. :-D

Julie Flanders said...

Oh, I hope the interview went well!

I love history and love reading about the frontier, but I can't imagine what it must have been like to actually live through it. I'm definitely spoiled by modern conveniences.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Yes, Marian, I agree with that!

Misha, when you're little, boxes make good hiding places! Not so good anymore! Thanks for visiting!

Julie, I'm afraid the West would not have been won had I been responsible for enduring those hardships and leading the way!!! The interview went well. Thanks!