Friday, April 29, 2011

Hiawatha ...

Yesterday's post noted that 2011 was the centennial year of the Olympian, a great Montana passenger train. The Olympian traveled the state for 36 years, but in 1947 the Milwaukee Road replaced it with a beautiful new streamliner called the Olympian Hiawatha. The orange-and-maroon train was noted for its modern equipment, created by the famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens. The Hiawatha's sleek "Skytop" observation car was unique among America's long-distance trains.

This is one of several advertising posters created by the Milwaukee in the early 1950s to promote the train. The location of the view is unspecified, but the cowboy hats suggest that the railroad was working to evoke the image of Montana. Sixteen Mile Canyon was one of the scenic highlights of the Milwaukee route, and was frequently a setting for promotional photographs and artwork.

Unfortunately, the Olympian Hiawatha's sojourn in Montana was brief. The western segment of the train was discontinued in May 1961, a bit less than fifty years after the first Olympian traveled across the state.

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