Schlagwort-Archiv: United States

Livingston—Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 21 September 1893

Our sleep was severely disturbed by the constant moving of our wagon which happened with ruthless knocks and incessant whistling and ringing of bells of the locomotives so that we greeted the departure of the train to our final destination, Cinnabar station, with pleasure.

The two-hour drive went alongside the Yellowstone river to a valley that opens up after passing through a gorge called the „Gate of the Mountains“. The name of the valley is Paradise Valley. High mountains with snow-covered peaks, among them Emigrant Peak 3340 m high, rise on both sides of the valley. A half hour before Cinnabar the valley becomes narrower again and forms a rocky romantic gorge with sandstone walls that rise up to 600 m high towards the mountains. Here already the volcanic character of the area becomes apparent in many of its rock types and forms.

At Cinnabar, the arriving passengers had to wait for large coaches pulled by four six very good horses for the drive to the first interesting point in the Yellowstone Park, Mammoth Hot Springs. Leaving the wagon we were welcomed by the severe cold and after barely half a kilometer we arrived in a snowy landscape. The vegetation was quite sparse matching the high altitude of around 1600 m above sea level, but there were fir trees near the streams and mountain ledges, a small thuja, poplars and an especially grey-green broom that is predominant here. I was astonished to see here everywhere a dwarf cactus armed with long spines who grows crawling on the floor.

The road was at times very steeply laid out as it had to rise 368 m over a distance of only about 13 km. At the small settlement of Gardiner that lies at the place where the eponymous river flows into the Yellowstone River I noticed numerous wapiti antlers lying around. Here we reached the territory of the Yellowstone national park.

This famous and much visited park that covers an area of 22.560 km2 was established by an act of congress in 1872 and declared a public park that may not be changed in any way: logging, hunting, mining etc. are all prohibited. This commendable act preserves the originality of the landscape distinguished by its natural beauty and its strange volcanic forms and protects it from destruction by humans. The whole are is of volcanic origin that causes a large number of geysers, hot springs, terraces an crater formations, obsidian rocks and sulphur hills that are both astonishing and admired by the visitors. For example, the geysers are said to surpass those in Island by far.

About one and a half kilometers from this point where one enters the park, one crosses the border to Wyoming on which lies the largest part of the park while Montana and Idaho participate with far smaller areas in this park.

Having conquered the last slope, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, nearly 2000 m above sea level, lay in front of us, a formless giant wooden building with multiple annexes, resplendent in red and yellow color. Some of the pavilions at the right served as barracks and stables for a cavalry battalion that is responsible for guarding the park and keeping up the order. The star-spangled banner on a high mast marked the assembly place of this formation.

The park is closed for visitors every year at the end of September so that the season was already coming to a close. Still there were many guests in the hotel and among them a considerable number of cantankerous Germans who had apparently come here from the exposition in Chicago. Even though the hotel offers space for 400 beds and is said to be the best of the park, it was nevertheless lacking in all comforts and an all the amenities for the travellers. A deficit that was further increased by the careless if not completely missing service.

After we finally had settled in our quarters, we went to the Mammoth Hot Springs, hot springs that form terraces by their lime deposits whose coloring and picturesque structure create such a splendid spectacle that can not be found in as beautiful manner in New Zealand, Island or Asia Minor. In a heavy snowfall we walked across the whole area consisting of around 70 springs and 10 to 12 terraces. Besides the white, flashy yellow or brown-red color of the depositions the deep blue of the springs that were bubbling and transporting their hot water out of unfathomable depths was all the more effective. Many of these sources whose temperature was fluctuating between 12 and 47° C. show, by the way, a totally clear surface so that we could look down the azure or dark-blue funnel, when the constant rising steam drifted away in the wind, and observe the structure of the deposits and the rocks. Despite the sometimes quite high temperatures of the water there was a thin layer of algae on the rocks. The crumbling edge of the springs was glittering due to the precipitations mostly in a brownish or vermilion color while at the drains  beautiful dripstone and fine-leafed deposits were developing. If these are still fully white or light yellow mixed with sulphur, then it is seen as a proof that the spring had been in existence for a short time.

One strange characteristic of every volcanic area which is on display here especially frequently is the sudden disappearance and drying up of springs and geysers while just as unexpected they emerge anew in other places. Thus we were shown a spring that had existed only for two weeks but had already developed to quite a substantial size.

As in all places visited often by foreigners so here too every remarkable point, every terrace and spring had its own name that was preserved for eternity on white boards and often quite strange or absurd. Thus two mighty stone cones of dried up geysers standing in the open that are visited right at the beginning of the tour carry the names of Liberty Cap and Giant’s Thumb. Having passed these cones one climbs on snow-white lime up to the largest terrace called Minerva Terrace and then one terrace follows the next, spring follows spring. Among the most remarkable sights I count Jupiter Terrace, Pulpit Basins, Pictured Terrace, Narrow Gauge Terrace, Cupid’s Cave, Devil’s Cave and Bear Cave, — the last three named are deep crater-like holes in the rock out of which once springs flowed a long time ago — finally Orange Geyser and the White Elephant. These are two hot springs that do not form terraces but pile up their deposits as a cone. The name of Orange Geyser is correct in so far as the lime of this spring apparently includes a mixture of iron oxide and thus provides it with an orange-like appearance. The White Elephant in fact resembles a giant pachyderm of that species and hot water was gushing out from under our feet when we climbed up on one of the smooth sides and stepped on the „back“ of the formation.

Except for those already named there were numerous smaller structures, sources and springs. And nearly everywhere we stepped on this volcanic ground, it sounded dull and hollow under our steps. Many springs are noticed from far away by their whizzing, bubbling or dull noises.

At the foot of Mammoth Hot Springs an enterprising Yankee had opened up a shop where he offers various objects for sale that have been quickly covered by the hot waters with a hard lime layer similar as in Karlsbad.

The evening was quite unpleasant as there was no space in the hotel where once could smoke and talk after the dinner. One is limited to use the staircase and is faced with the presence of the less agreeable company of idling and spitting cowboys and workers who have access to all places, so that we finally fled to one of our rooms.

In the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel one is, by the way, forced to go to bed early as at 11 o’clock all electric lighting is turned off without any consideration for the guests.

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Northport — Spokane, 19 September 1893

Early in the morning close to Fort Shepherd we crossed the border between British Columbia and the United States and are now on the territory of the state of Washington.

In the morning the steamer moored at Northport, the final destination of our river journey. As there existed a wise custom of letting a train depart only on those days that there was no steamer, I was forced to take a special train that consisted only of the machine,  baggage wagons and a Pullmann salon wagon. I just then rented the latter one for the full journey onward. This wagon had a kitchen, comfortable sleeping spots and offered the advantage that we could hope to stay among ourselves and thus be spared to come into contact with unkind fellow passengers.

The transfer from the landing to the station at Northport is strange as the track runs straight into the river. The steamer moves so close to it that it is beached. The train literally drives into the water up to half its axis height. The traveller thus takes a big step from the ship to the train wagon while tiny fishes are swimming around the steamer and the train. Our baggage was quickly loaded into the train and now the journey went very quickly, despite the construction of the Spokane Falls and Northern Railway not inspiring much confidence, alongside the steeply falling lake shore to Marcus where the train leaves the lake behind and turns towards Spokane.

The landscape here is markedly different than that of the day before. Not very tall pine trees growing at considerable distance from each other. The ground is covered by dry yellow grass. Instead of the earlier so numerous burnt places there are here corn [maize], oats and wheat fields. Close to the farms herds of beautiful cattle and studs of well formed horses are cavorting. Noticeably many steam saws lay next to the tracks and giant stacks of cut and planed boards prove that here the value of wood is much appreciated. The possessions of the individual farmers were enclosed by barbed wire. We saw some game too as from smaller lakes and reed covered ponds rose flocks of ducks into the air an flew swift as an arrow past the windows of our compartment.

Already in Northport I had received a telegram from Colonel Cook who asked me to his regiment and camp located near the city of Spokane as there would be a two hour stop in that place. I thankfully declined this somewhat strange invitation in consideration of my incognito which led to a vituperative article in the Spokane evening newspaper that was handed to us in the wagon. The article had the laconic title „Franz is here„, illustrated with my image and was filled with mean falsehoods that did in no way attain their intended goal of offending me.  To the contrary, I found this old canard only ridiculous all the more so as various parts were unintentionally funny. Thus, for example,  the bad tempered reported exerted himself about our too numerous pieces of baggage and posed the question how this would be after I had been married . Then he criticized the „nonchalant“ knocking off of the cigar and other nonsense of this kind.

Instead of attending the parade I used the stay for a visit of the city of Spokane whose tasteless buildings painted green or red presented a not so pleasing sight. The center of a rich agricultural district, Spokane was founded in 1878 and rebuilt after a great fire in 1889. Traces of the latter can still today be perceived in the city center. The streets were full with an extraordinary amount of droppings, a situation that reminded me of small villages in Eastern Europe (Halbasien).

The two waterfalls within the city, Spokane Falls, are praised as natural beauties but are actually only weirs from which the water drops out of a total height of 45 m and which powers an lighting system numerous factories and other enterprises in the vicinity.

After a two hour stay out wagon was coupled to the main train that was fully packed with passengers despite its length and the journey onward started on the Northern Pacific Railway.

Spokane_Daily_Chronicle_TitleLinks

Chicago, 3 October 1893

A whole row of rail tracks, partly in parallel to our driving direction, partly divergent above or below it, indicated early in the morning that we were approaching Chicago. This colossal railway network is continuously extended. Broad tracks covered with rails are formed; on which the trains drive past one another at great speed, indifferent to whether they are passing through the vibrant city, cultivated land or the prairie. It is amazing that there are not more railroad accidents in view of the complete absence of railroad guards, barriers or other security features as well as a caste of officials who are seldom seen. At home, it would be impossible to send railroad trains at full speed through the streets of populated cities and limit oneself to the sign of the locomotive bell as the only warning signal. If on the one hand  there are sometimes made too many efforts at home in terms of personal security and the prevention of accidents and the traveling public is too much patronized, on the other hand, the system so popular here is still too „American“ to be worth copying.

Dirty suburbs, smoking factory stacks and impenetrable smoke clouds that hang over the city were the first impressions that we received during our arrival in Chicago. As I wanted to use the short time of my stay here fully and undisturbed to visiting the exposition, I deemed it necessary to leave the train without being recognized. When I saw a whole army of reporters with the necessary writing equipment in their hands walk towards my Pullman Car guided by an higher railway official in the arrival hall, I rushed through a few wagons and thus managed to escape without being noticed to get a carriage which would take me to the railway to the exposition.

Chicago was the first city of the North American East that I saw. Even though it is by far greater and mightier in its dimensions than the American communities we had visited up to now, I could, however, not find it pleasing. While the suburbs and the more remote districts very much resemble the already described cities in the West, in Chicago’s center, the wooden buildings are replaced by true monsters of houses that are, however, calculated for practical use only and also built without any expenses accommodating a sense of beauty. One house looks like the next one, only the number of floors is different. We saw buildings that had 15, even18 floors but without any ornaments or even the tiniest decorating detail. These giant apartment buildings that consist of a large iron frame with hollow brick fillings are sometimes very narrow in relation to their height which naturally precludes a harmonic effect from the first. Due to the smoke that emerges from the factory smoke stacks the buildings, the roofs and the streets have an unfriendly dark exterior that is still further reinforced by the dark red or brown paint of the buildings.

At the large Auditorium Hotel that forms the corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress street, we took the railway line that led alongside Lake Michigan to the exposition. A double pallisade wall filled in with stone blocks is tasked with containing the waves of the often quite violent lake at the shore but still the tracks of the railway specially built for the purpose of the exposition are often swamped to the height of one foot.

A large crowd was moving to the exposition since the morning hours and was being transported there with steamboats, trains or finally in coaches. The latter are especially popular among the sons of Albion that thus enter the World’s Fair to the sound of the whip and trumpets. The railway sends a train every five minutes; the transfer takes 20 minutes and ends on a wooden viaduct that offers a good overview of the exposition with its sea of halls and galleries, cupolas and towers.

If I want to first present an overall impression that the exposition made on me during my one day visit, I can not deny that it was quite splendid both in extent and arrangement as well in the architectural construction of the main objects. They wanted to surpass all previous expositions which was also achieved in the aspects mentioned. The exposition area of 278 ha is enclosed on three sides by the city and Lake Michigan on the fourth one. The main buildings are imposing by their fabulous size. Likewise the water constructions, the avenues and the traffic installations within the exposition even though the whole territory had been a bare desert a short while ago. Like everything the exposition also had its negative sides: The objects on display do not always fulfil the expectations. The visitor is exposed to much that is unnecessary and old stuff he has often seen before and many things of quite dubious worth. At times one recognizes the desire to fill the enormous large halls at any cost. Thus I found for instance a considerable space filled with badly stuffed animals and anatomical specimens — a transplanted natural history museum here whose reason of existence at this spot was quite questionable. Guided by the intention to present everything in the grandest scale that would only possible to be shown to the astonished world in America, one has sometimes succumbed to impostures that is looking out from under the shiny exterior cover. It can also not be left out to mention that the audience makes a visit to the exposition often not very pleasant by the ruthless behavior, pushing and rushing.

As the already indicated circumstances forced me to devote only a day to visiting the exposition, I intended to see as much as possible but especially the most outstanding buildings, then the sections that interested me most that is forestry and agriculture, ethnography and natural history. Even though a day was insufficient in comparison to the extent of the exposition, we nevertheless were able to get a general impression and managed to see the most important more closely by devoting the necessary effort. Any form of guide I had refused in order not to be dependent on the guide’s will and having to stay in admiration in a soap and perfume exposition due to the guide’s wishes. I thus rushed with the help of a plan to those objects I regarded to be the most worth seeing.

In the children’s pavilion, a spawn of the American need for sensations that lies next to the end point of the train, children in all stages of development from the newborn child to children aged ten or twelve years were on exhibit and the treatment and care of the American child was demonstrated ad oculos. That the rows of babies in cradles not always offers an aesthetic view does not need to be mentioned. Involuntarily I thought about my visit to Moscow where I had to march past the front of 3000 babies and their attending carers in the state orphanage to general hilarity. Naturally I also viewed the exhibited band in Chicago with a bachelor’s view who has obviously different sentiments faced with children than a young mother. Fortunately the exposition committee had made sure that one could see the living objects in their rooms only through large windows and thus the various intimate processes of raising children could usually be kept away from the spectator. Despite of this one had still enough opportunity to study these details closely.

More inspiring to me seemed the garden and fruit exhibition. The garden part is however quite inconsiderable except for the interesting Mexican cacti that were on display in all their varieties and forms. The fruit on view, however, was very remarkable both in quality and quantity. In the matter of cultivating fruit America has done excellent work during recent times, especially California that supplies outstanding fruit is in the lead. Unfortunately the peach and pear harvest of this country was already past. Instead in this nice and neat section a series of the most splendid apple and grape species were on view.

Wooded Island presents a garden criss-crossed by numerous gravel paths whose arrangement seems artificial due to the exaggeration of the art of gardening and offers an impression of tastelessness. Petrol motor boats and numerous other vehicles among them a few Venetian gondolas are driving in the surrounding laguna.

Coming from between the long-winded buildings of the mining and electricity exposition, one enters the main square of the exposition that presents a captivating an imposing view. In the middle of the square is a basin ornamented with fountains and statues on which are numerous boats. Around it rise the mighty buildings of the exposition area that is in effective concord with the architectural structure and exterior ornamentation. It is sad that these splendid building have been designed for only the shortest of time and will outlast the exposition for only a few months, as one can already see some damage on them. Each of these buildings consists of a colossal iron frame with wood fillings that have been plastered over with a very effective looking white stucco-like mass called „staff“.  This material, Michigan gypsum with additions of lime and jute fibers was also used to embellish all decorative sculptural works that improve the facades and even for the colossal statue of liberty that is 22 m high.

The most remarkable building is the administration palace crowned by a cupola. In its front stands a statue of Columbus while on its right are the machine then the agricultural halls, to the left are the electricity and the industrial halls. The casino and the music hall complete the square on the lake side.

Out of the basin extend two arms crossed by two mighty bridges of which the Northern one is connected to the laguna and which offer by this branching-off a pleasant spot for the eye to rest. The mentioned statue of liberty whose pedestal is grounded in the basin does not really fit in its gilded decoration and the badly proportioned forms to the imposing surroundings but even seems annoying which not only those with a sense for artistic beauty but also the most enthusiastic republican to whom the Phrygian cap is a holy symbol will admit. More tasteful is the presentation of the Mc. Mounies fountain, a colossal fountain in the form of a triumphal vehicle on which Columbia thrones and allegorical figures guide the rudder. On both sides are illuminated fountains and the basin is enclosed with pillars with animal statues in larger than life dimensions.

The most beautiful view on this great work erected during the shortest of time one enjoys from the bridges over the side canals. Despite the pouring rain and the nourished prejudices I could not refrain from admiring the offered view that was lessened only by the realization that this splendor would exist only for such a short time and not be guarded for the future.

Using the agricultural hall as a covered walkway I went towards the anthropological exposition but saw much on the way there. Thus in the show hall of the extensive cattle and horse exhibition that, by the way, I had heard that it offered nothing exceptional. Passing by numerous wind motors I make a stop at a model of the dwellings of the early cave dwellers of America. A rock has been modeled like nature with all its clefts and fissures and in its interior was a settlement at a smaller scale of those strange humans who ha built homes in caves that are similar to our castles. The cave findings are on display in a nearby museum. Among them are cadavers and human remains in well preserved states of mummification, domestic tools especially pretty clay vessels and flintstone weapons from this prehistoric era.

In the anthropological section I was interested namely in two groups: the Indian exposition and that of the excavations that had been made in all parts of America.The most captivating in the latter group were the findings from Mexico and South America, proof for the high culture and artistic skills of the Aztecs.

Among the exhibited object from Australia and the South Sea islands I recognized many well known objects. Thus a large image of one of the villages of the Papuans at Port Moresby, which vividly reminded me about the eager trade with the natives there. A proof that the grouping of the exhibition objects is not always systematically correct can be seen by the fact that in the anthropological section there were also besides human skulls, arrow heads and other objects from the stone age a sanitary bodice and playing cards from all countries of the world. On the first floor of the building were houses mostly natural history objects among them the life-size model of a mammoth found near Stuttgart. Strangely there were also a few antler and fur traders doing business in this room.

The anthropological is followed by the forestry exhibition that attracted my attention by its varied assortment of wood that come from the various states of America and are demonstratively presented in raw, cut and polished condition. Many of the jungle giants had to die to be shown here as a cut section, and next to the gigantic trunks of spruces an thujas lay also mahogany blocks that have mostly been sent by Mexico. The forestry exhibition is actually not one according to our understanding and I want to contradict the catalogue, despite its audacious claim that there never has been a forestry exhibition of a similar completeness, as there is missing any proof that here reforestation is taken into consideration as a replacement for the plundered forests. Giant trees and likewise cuts alone are not a proof for a rational forestry cultivation. And in many areas it would be necessary, even though North America certainly still ha enormous wood reserves, to care for the regeneration of the mercilessly exploited and devastated forest. Very timidly some of the industries that work with the splendid wood materials are also presenting their objects.

In an open space in front of the pavilion are models of Aztec dwellings and tall, carved idol figures of the Vancouver Indians. Inscriptions describing the horrible deeds of the especially feared Indian chiefs lured us in many of the tents in which we expected to see these novel-like figures or at least the remembrance of them. Instead these inscriptions only served as advertisements for the Indians quite advanced in civilization who offered various goods for sale in their wigwams.

The freight to the exhibition must have cost a fortune for one exhibitor and that is Krupp that has united in a pavilion monster guns, giant ship screws, mighty armor plates, steel cast and forged pieces as well as railway material. Even the transport of these objects from Essen to Chicago is said to have sunk huge sums and now the railway and shipping companies are refusing to undertake the return transport at fair prices, so that Krupp presented the whole exhibit as a present to the city of Chicago. What the peaceful pig raising citizens namely will do with the horrible war tools is however not easy to predict.

The remembrance of Columbus is cared for in the whole exposition which is given proof by a faithful reconstruction of the abbey of Santa Maria de la Rabida where Columbus made a stop on his journey on foot from Palos to Madrid and made the plan there which received the permission of the two kings. The abbey then was owned by the Franciscan order and was under the guardianship of  Juan Perez, Queen Isabella’s confessor whose influence did provide important services for Columbus. The monks of Rabida blessed the fleet of the audacious navigator before the departure and blessed it again when the great man returned to the port of Palos after the discovery of America. In the narrow rooms of the reconstructed abbey were exhibited numerous images and reliquaries remembering Columbus but there was such a crowding in there that we could see but little being pushed along by the masses.

The world exposition's Santa Maria

The world exposition’s Santa Maria (source: Gutenberg.org)

On the smooth surface of a basin the model of the „Santa Maria“ was swaying that had been built in the arsenal de la Carracca in Spain and transferred to Chicago. The flagship of Columbus as well as the models of its two compatriots, „Nina“ and „Pinta“ were built according to their true scale and presented themselves as true Spanish ships of their period with a tower-like aft structure as well as a high fore that one is used to see in pictures of the Armada.

The courage of the great Colon who had undertaken the audacious voyage into the unknown sea with such small ships is no less admirable than the astonishing fact that the vehicles managed to withstand the long and stormy ocean journey.

What a contrast is formed by the „Illinois“, the model of a United States warship anchored in Lake Michigan! It had been made in natural scale and completely equipped and manned and armed with all its offensive and defensive weapons. There is also a navy exhibition of the government on board. A dishonorable game contrary to my feelings as a soldier were made here by producing a show every afternoon of the officers and crew on board demonstrating exercises of guns, maneuvering with torpedoes and boats to a gawking crowd that has to pay for attending it. This is not compatible with the earnestness and decorum of being a soldier but demeans it to the level of a rope artist or vaudeville actor. In this country, a soldier does not enjoy the exceptional position and respect that is still assured, God be thanked, in Europe, and thus one may not wonder neither about the public display of the navy nor that on the federal parade ground a larger detachment of the army of the United States performs daily exercised for the spectators.

To recover a bit from the visit of the numerous halls I mounted an electrical train that rushes from the exposition square on a wooden frame and forms loops at its end points. Even though one mostly sees the roofs of the various buildings during this journey, it still offered the opportunity to get a survey of the full giant extent of the exposition area.

At the fishery exhibition — it is housed in a large building of a Spanish-Roman style with a richly developed cupola — we left the train and could quickly see that the content of this beautiful building did not in any way match its exterior wall. Only the aquarium is exceptional, as well as a educative Swedish collection with its boats and fishing equipment. In a large tank of the aquarium were the most diverse freh and salt water fish from the carp to the salmon trout,  catfishes, sharks, grotesque devil fishes, lobsters, crawfishes etc.

In the mean time we had developed a giant appetite but had to search for a long time before we found a restaurant whose sign in large letters of „Restaurant francais“ unfortunately did not match with what was offered. At least this had the advantage that we were not at all captured by the culinary delights and could devote our sparsely allocated time again to the exposition.

The industrial hall covering  123.400 m2 is the largest individual building in the world. The iron roof of the hall has a height of 62 m and is borne by 27 main arches with a span of 116 m. In terms of construction material 7.700 t of wood, 5.450 t of steel and 900 t of iron were used. The cost of the building amounted to 1,700.000 dollars. I limited myself to visiting only the Austrian section that displayed much that was remarkable, namely glass, porcelain, leather fashion goods by Förster and other art-industrial objects; for many of our industrial companies however the distance must have been too great and the chance of success too uncertain which I regretted but without feeling resentful.

The rainy weather improved toward the evening and the sun was shining brightly so that there was much activity in the avenues and gardens.

My next destination was the gallery of fine arts, a large middle wing that was united by pillar halls with two annexes to an imposing structure and was decorated with rich ornaments. In the middle of the building rises a colossal statue of Augustus. The art of all European countries is richly represented here and namely Austria’s artists had sent excellent works which I most often greeted as old acquaintances — thus Makart’s „Five senses“, portraits by Angeli, Brozik’s „defenestration“, the well known captivating scene from the Austrian North Pole expedition by Payer, the beautiful deer by Pausinger etc. In one of the rooms stands Her Majesty’s bust in a good likeness. Austria can be proud about this part of the exposition. The art of many other countries is unable to match the works from our home.

The remainder of the evening until the departure of the train I dedicated to Midway Plaisance, the main attraction for every visitor who seeks recovery and entertainment, being tired and awed from the greatness of the exposition. Naturally, everything here too is in giant dimensions as this entertainment venue in the grandest style forms a 2 km long boulevard on whose sides are an innumerable variety of booths, theaters, vaudevilles and restaurants, homes of savage peoples, panoramas etc. I might compare Midway Plaisance to an enlarged and extended Viennese Wurstelprater in which the cosiness and natural humour is replaced by the size and originality of the attractions.

Official Views Of The World's Columbian The world exposition's Congress Of Beauty on the Midway

Official Views Of The World’s Columbian The world exposition’s Congress Of Beauty on the Midway (source: Gutenberg.org)

The first pavilion is dedicated to the fair sex and titled „The 40 most beautiful ladies of all nations“. The rush to this much promising building is quite considerable and thus we too took tickets to visit this gallery of living beauties. In small cage-like boxes on a stage sat, were lying or stood women dressed in national costumes representing the different countries whose names were written in large letters below the sections. Here were the Swedish woman next to the fiery eyed Andalusian, the Turk next to the Chinese, the German next to the Japanese etc. to be seen. I could not refrain in the first moment to laugh out loudly as the arrangement of the cages gave the impression of a — sit venia verbo — Menagerie and my hilarity transferred to all those present after even some of the ladies joined in. Some of the „40 most beautiful ladies of the world“ who deemed their task an earnest one and seemed to be infused with the importance of their mission sent scathing glances toward the mocker, the majority however smiled and seemed pleased to have some interruption to the boredom of having to sit quietly and be starred at for twelve hours daily. While not all the ladies, and namely not „Austria“ and „Croatia“, might be counted among the most beautiful of the world, nevertheless some had remarkably pretty faces whose owners certainly merited a better fate.

American Tobacco cigarette cards 1893

American Tobacco cigarette cards 1893

The Greek woman sitting in the dress of beautiful Helen and in full awareness of her Greek profile sat on an ancient pedestal was recognized as being a former flower girl from Freudenau. Her answers to our questions were true Viennese and filled with the desire of the girl to return soon to her home. Another lady was also from Vienna where she had acted the year before as a champaign serving girl in the music and theater exposition. The Turkish girl who lay with multiple colleagues in an improvised harem on bulging cushions and whose rich costume and the flashy diadem were to complete the illusion seemed to have seen the light of the world in England. The visible joy that the Viennese girls had seeing a compatriot moved me much, but I soon had to escape to be spared a looming spontaneous ovation.

In Hagenbeck’s menagerie, built in circus form, there are daily shows that present quite excellent demonstrations in animal training and therefore attracts numerous spectators without having to use the otherwise so popular form of advertising. Four adult lions followed their tamer like dogs who at the end attached them in front of a wagon and drove around the arena under vivid acclaims by the audience. Also a lion could be seen that was very good at cycling. Remarkable is the peaceful coexistence of various animals in one cage that would pursue and fight one another in liberty. Thus an ice bear with tigers and monkeys, lions with fat pigs, panther with dogs etc. were housed next to each other as neighbors.

We walked from booth to booth some of which we left quite disappointed as the content offered did not match the ballyhooed promises. I did not visit the exotic peoples who I had already personally met in their homeland such as the Papuas. In friendly remembrance of the stay in Java, I had a look at our friend Kerkhoven’s Javanese village that, to my regret, did not seem to offer much attraction.

The world exhibition's entrance to Old Vienna, on the Midway

The world exposition’s entrance to Old Vienna, on the Midway (source: Gutenberg.org)

The theater productions all started so late that I could not attend one. Unfortunately I could not visit the much praised „Old Vienna“ given the ambassador’s opinion about certain relations of the Austrian section and had to make do with a pair of the famous Wiener sausages and some rolls that a friend brought to  me. It is satisfying to hear that „Old Vienna“ is said to do very good business and that the elegant world of Chicago is meeting here thanks to the excellent productions of Ziehrer as well as the good Viennese cuisine.

To trump the Eiffel tower, a giant reel in the form of a colossal iron wheel had been built on which wagons the size of a Pullmann Car have been attached and go up and down in a vertical circle as soon as the wheel is put into motion by a steam engine. With electrical illumination the iron monster from whose top one can overview the whole exposition presents an impression of a gigantic specter. After a slide also recalled memories of the Viennese Wurstelprater, we felt enticed to see the Lapps who led a quite dirty life in their earth huts and were just eating dinner but seemed to be very pleased about the belated visit.

If the central square in front of the administration building had made a splendid impression during the day, this was the case to a much higher degree at night, as they have masterfully managed to increase the total effect by gleaming and rightly placed illumination.  Thousands upon thousands of electric lights that followed the architectural contours and are reflected in the pool have been fixed to the buildings. From the ridge of individual buildings mighty projectors send out their blinding rays into the deep, the gushing cascades and the jets of the spring fountains glow — everything is alight, gleaming and glittering like the decoration of a magic ballet. I did not deem the hard-nosed sense of the Americans capable of orchestrating such a refined and truly beautiful light spectacle.

Returning to our rolling domicile, I finally received the long expected mail that had reached Yokohama with delay and tried to catch up with me all across North America.

Links

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • ANNO – on 03.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Ein Schritt vom Wege“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing „Wiener Walzer“ and other pieces.

Manitou — Chicago, 2 October 1893

Also during today’s long journey we had the opportunity to experience in a quite disagreeable manner the ruthlessness with which our Pullman Car was switched at all the crossing points. If a traveler dares to ask the locomotive driver or conductor for a more attentive treatment, he will be laughed at or receives the answer that nobody is forced to use the railway. As a proof of the force and intensity of the blows we received serves the case that nearly all our wine bottles were broken even though they had been well packaged and stored in wooden racks. The incessant use of the locomotive bells that serves as a warning signal gets on the nerves as the sound of the bell is striking similar to that of our passing bell.

During the night we passed through the great city of Denver that features numerous industrial companies. In the morning we no longer saw beautiful landscapes or canyons as we were driving Eastwards on the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad through the fertile area of the state of Nebraska, an endless plain. One sees corn and corn again that my please the farmer’s eye but in the length of time appears highly monotonous to the traveler. Numerous artesian aquifers are operated by wind motors and irrigate the fields. The farms and cities show the characteristics of a quick, overly hasty development and discomfort. The private houses  are unadorned except for numerous promotions and bill boards. Everywhere agricultural machines replace human labor. Herds 0f cattle and horses are roaming around.

In Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, our ambassador lost his hat and baggage during the switch-over. Here too we received the disagreeable news that we would probably not find the baggage we sent ahead there on the day of our arrival in Chicago.  The much praised American railways look quite different if seen up close as when one believes the sugar-coated descriptions. And even in Italy I have not seen similar conditions such as here. Thus there is but a single baggage wagon on these enormously long trains and the baggage of numerous passengers is left behind if there is no space left without informing the passenger and it reaching its destination only 24 hours later.

Omaha, „the gate city“, is one of the main entrance way stations to the West and will be remembered for the onrush of the local reporters upon our wagon during our quarter hour stop. When I went out for a short time to catch some fresh air, I could only with difficulties escape from imminent interviews.  The intrusiveness here in the service of public opinion I could not have imagined it, even though the American press might have let one expect everything. Liberty of the press is interpreted here as fair game on fellow men whose most intimate private life is spared nothing and made public. The newspapers, from the largest to the smallest gossip rag are full of sensational news, of vilifications as well as spicy stories. In the political arena all means are used. That my person too had to undergo such treatment, that the readers were served with lies and bloopers of the most vile kind, I had to take note with indifference  which is the only dignified response for such actions.

Near Omaha, the rail track comes close to the Missouri, then follows its right shore for some time and finally crosses it on a high and long bridge which the train, already on the Chicago, Burlington und Quincy Railroad, passes over very slowly. The Missouri is a very languid river with numerous tributaries and dirty colored water.

No game enlivened the area. The wetlands however offered a pleasing view as they reminded us of our own wetlands where one can now hear the rutting call of the stags and every hunter is spending the most beautiful hours of the year. Oaks, maples, poplars, willows, in short all representatives of the wetland forests were to be seen here. Forest areas in small submerged grounds or valleys embellished the overall view of the area, even after we had already left the current of the river.

Links

  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
  • ANNO – on 02.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die Braut von Messina“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.
  • In contrast to Franz Ferdinand’s statements above, at least the digitized Omaha Bee is very respectful about the distinguished if reclusive foreigners.

 

The Omaha Bee mentions "distinguished foreigners" in Denver

The Omaha Bee of 2 October 1893 mentions „distinguished foreigners at Denver“ in the morning edition

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.

The Omaha Bee 2 October 1893 in the evening edition includes a respectful account of the stop in Omaha.

Manitou, 1 October 1893

The day started with an icy cold, snow and storm. All the mountains were covered in fog and the outlook for the probability of the planned trip to the peak of Pike’s Peak reduced to a minimum. We did not have much luck with mountain excursions during our voyage in America.

In the morning, our ambassador in Washington, Schmit von Tavera, introduced himself as I had requested his presence here. He confirmed me the correctness of the unedifying circumstances of the exposition in Chicago and unfortunately especially the rumours about the Austrian section, so that I arranged to limit my visit there to only a few hours. He also developed a graphic survey of the conditions in the United States in all areas of public and private life that very much reinforced and enriched the impressions I have received up to now. Especially worth a mention is the changeover of the officials after each change of the presidency which precludes the necessary continuity in administration, quite apart from the crass excesses that this system promotes.

Furthermore in the land of the free public welfare for the working class seems to be seen as completely superfluous and to be substituted by the liberty to die of hunger if necessary. Economic disruptions have lasting effects given the completely insufficient support for the workers‘ interests. And especially the silver crisis is said to have caused great misery. Despite these dismal aspects the United States still exerts a great attraction to emigrants of which also from our country many thousands try their luck in the New World every year, only to all to often end up in a miserable state as they are not rarely exploited by scrupulous agents and left in a place to fend for themselves without rights and help, reduced to a miserable condition.

After a short railway journey we reached Manitou that is only 10 km distant from Colorado Springs and delightfully situated at the foot of Pike’s Peak and an attraction for sufferers and tourists. Climbing the high peak, that had been discovered and first climbed by Captain Pike in 1806, has since then been a very tempting enterprise so that it was decided in 1890 to build a cog railroad of the Abt system in place of the tiring riding path to the top of the mountain. The starting point of the railway opened in 1891 lies at 2013 m above sea level. The altitude difference to be surpassed amounts to 2318 m and the endpoint of the railway is thus 534 m higher than the peak of the Großglockner. I would have liked to undertake the trip to the peak of Pike’s Peak, whose altitude is certified by friend Baedeker to cause nosebleed due to the thin air, but unfortunately dense snow storm and extended fog prevented our undertaking, as the day before the cold temperature had been measured at the peak of 25 cool degrees. I thus stayed in Manitou that is picturesquely located in a valley basin and makes a friendly nice impression.

Due to its carbon acidic and ferruginous water, it is a often visited health resort where much is done for the visitor’s comfort and well-being. This is exemplified by the numerous sites and plants that snugly enclose the houses and villas. Numerous hotels and guest houses await the tourists and also a casino has established itself here

The bad weather naturally did not deter us at all from having a look at the beauties of nature in the surrounding area clad in winter dress. Firstly, Williams Canyon is a quite narrow rocky gorge whose blood red rocks rising high on both sides of the road and are made up of sandstone rich in iron. We thus can observe the rocks closely and in leisure. Some of the rocks have been buttressed to prevent any danger to the passers-by.

Much more interesting is the „Garden of the Gods“, an area of about 240 ha distinguished by a number of fantastic isolated rock formations that carry names that, with a little fantasy, seemed to be not badly chosen. There is a „baggage hall“, baggage-like cubes piled on top of one another, then the „Garden of the Sponges“ where formations have been created by erosion that look very much like giant stone mushrooms; the „Balanced Rock“ is an about 200 t heavy conical rock on which rests a meter-wide pedestal. Outstanding are thin sandstone walls that are arranged one after the other like a backdrop on a stage and are displaying truly grotesque formations such as „Lot’s wife“, „elephant“, „bear“, „American eagle“, „buffalo head“ and finally the „kissing camels“.

In any case these nature spectacles leave nothing to be desired in terms of originality. They rise in their blood red color completely suddenly and are well worth a visit. In the „Garden of the Gods“ I saw an oak species again for the first time after a long period of absence, however only a small one similar to our Austrian oak, with strongly slit leaves.

While we were amply being fleeced by a merchant in his Curio Shop, the clouds lifted, the sun emerged, the mountain range deeply covered in snow and even the peak of Pike’s Peak became visible so that we infinitely regretted not to spend this moment at the top of the giant mountain and to look out over the Rocky Mountains and the endless prairie of Colorado and Texas. But the hour of departure to Chicago had arrived and I had to take the decision to go without having climbed Pike’s Peak.

Links

  • Location: Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA
  • ANNO – on 01.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Kabale und Liebe“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Mignon“.

Colorado Springs, 30 September 1893

On the line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad we were rolling towards our next destination, Colorado Springs, after we had turned Eastwards at Provo City. As far as the landscape is concerned, this route has to be described as very interesting as the tracks cross a great number of splendid canyons. Narrow rocky valleys and gorges exist in Europe too but neither in such numbers and extent, nor showing such grotesque formations we were encountering here. Unfortunately, the bad weather spoiled our enjoyment of the scenery as it was snowing when we passed the wild canyon of the Grand River and dense flakes and masses of fog covered the mountain peaks as well as the higher wall some of which rose almost vertically up to 750 m.

In many places the gorge with its rocky walls is so narrow that the railway and the river have just enough space next to each other and daylight can only enter between the colossal jagged walls. Nevertheless crippled pines have set root in crevices and wherever there is a bit of earth between the rocks, intensely red and yellow colored bushes peek out. The sandstone rocks appear in the most adventurous forms, withered and crumbled parts alternate with deep long clefts and caves. One expects the overhanging walls and blocks to tumble down into the abyss at any moment. Down there the gushing river digs its bed deeper and deeper. Rocks that have been broken off by the force exerted by ice in places pile up to mighty masses enriching the gorgeous view that this wild romantic and dark area offers.

The Canyon of the Grand River is 27 km long until the valley in which much new snow was lying opens up without however losing its bare and rocky character. Whenever the fog was broken up by the current wind, we could also see the high mountains surrounding the canyon.

Soon we entered into Eagle River Canyon that resembled its predecessor but was still considerable narrower so that one can not look up to the walls even from the bottom of the wagon. Here too some narrow tunnels had to be dug even though the railway tracks follow the river shore closely. Like glued to the wall appear the small huts of the miners and the mine entrances that allow the extraction of the ore and are the main source of income for the thinly distributed population.

When we reached some sort of high plateau after having passed Eagle Canyon, we were received by light rays of the sun emerging from dense snow clouds. The rays illuminated multiple green fields, an unexpected sight. Grazing cattle and horse brought life into the landscape.

The two cities of Leadville and Salida were examples of the already repeatedly observed type of urban settlements even though the territory, like the whole of Colorado, had been Mexican for a long time before it had been annexed by the United States. Numerous mountain names remind of this past era, thus the snow covered Sangre de Cristo range and places like Pueblo, which we later passed.

Right after Salida we observed mighty round boulders that sometimes were piled up on top of one another that, individually, were larger than a small house. The vegetation here was very paltry and only represented by the roof-shaped dwarf spruce and cacti in yellow bloom.

As far as greatness is concerned, the latest of the canyons, the canyon of the Arkansas, is the equal of the Great Canyon in the Yellowstone Park, but it lacks the latter’s splendid light and color effects that delighted me. Instead the canyon of the Arkansas is marked by the jaggedness of the red sandstone as well by the quite amazing height of granite rocks. The rocks rise at the most narrow spot of this 13 km long pass, called Royal Gorge, up to 800 m.

Overwhelmed by the view I stood on the platform of the wagon, following the example of most other passengers, while the speeding train seemed to flee out of the area of the threatening gigantic masses. Such scary areas have certainly been imagined in our mind while we listened to accounts of Indian attacks on trains, of fights between them and the passengers and of other romances about the far West with all their ghastly elements.

Suddenly, and without any continuing spurs of the surrounding walls, the narrow valley stops and makes way to a wide prairie-like valley where timid trials of cultivating fields and fruit can be observed.

From Pueblo the railway turns North towards Colorado Springs, a spa town popular due to its healthy climate where we rested for the night in order to drive to Manitou the next day and climb Pike’s Peak of 4331 m altitude.

Links

  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
  • ANNO – on 30.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Der Veilchentreffer“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Afrikanerin“.

Salt Lake City — Colorado Springs, 29 September 1893

A fertile valley features the cultivation of grain and fruit but most of all pumpkins and melons, but the ridges are as bare as those we passed on the day before. Soon we discovered the great salt lake that is 129 km long and 48 km wide and stands out by its high salinity of 22,4 percent compared to 3,5 percent of sea water. Only the water of the Dead Sea at 25 percent surpasses it. Just before Salt Lake City we came close to the lake shore and passed multiple bathing places such as for instance the sanative Beck’s Hot Springs. Vermilion bushes that cover the otherwise bare ledges added some variety into the quite monotonous landscape.

In Salt Lake City we at once got in a carriage to visit the „tabernacle“, the main sanctuary of the Mormons and the other sights of the city.

The founder of the Mormon sect was Joseph Smith who organized his followers into a congregation in the 25th year of his life on 6th April 1830 in Fayette, a small town in the state of New York. In the next year they relocated to Ohio and chased away from there in 1833 to Missouri. Evicted out of this state too, the Mormons turned by the way of Caldwell county to Illinois where they built in Hancock county the city of Nauvoo and a beautiful temple in 1840. But they came into conflict with the other inhabitants that led to its destruction four years after Nauvoo’s foundation and to an open fight in which Smith perished. Brigham Young, Smith’s successor in the prophet’s position, emigrated with 1500 men and trekked on trying roads over the Rocky Mountains to the Great Salt Lake where the congregation settled in 1847 and founded the state of Utah. After it had already been recognized as a territory after three years, the federal government appointed Brigham Young as its governor which led to a special boom time for the colony despite many conflicts. In our days, however, one remarks a decline. The number of gentiles — non-Mormons — has increased very much which seems to have markedly changed the social relations. Furthermore the legislative of the United States has condemned the Mormons‘ polygamy and forced them to give up this practice.

A tour of the city showed us what has been achieved here and how the Mormons have managed to turn the sterile ground fertile by untiring labor. In an agreeable contrast to Vancouver and Butte City we saw here avenues that line the streets and tasteful gardens around the houses with evergreen luxurious lawns. On the building’s walls various climbing plants are entwining themselves so that each house displays in a pleasant way the preferences of its occupants for neatness and their enjoyment of green ornaments. Trees and gardens make the chessboard-like structure of the city look less monotonous and some buildings are quite tastefully designed. Through the streets drawn straight as an arrow dashes a continuously ringing electric tramway but one also still sees many good trotters pulling light wagons.

The tabernacle is a giant elliptical building. 76 m long, 45 m wide and 21 m high. The roof carried by 44 slender sandstone pillars is constructed out of wood and covered with iron shingles. It constitutes one of the largest open vaults of the world. The large interior space that is intended for church service activities of the Mormons resembles a gigantic theater.  The floor and the wooden gallery contain 8000 seats, while there would be room for 12.000 persons in total. At the Western end is a platform with chairs for the president, the bishops, the twelve apostles and the speakers as well as the choir that is arranged a mighty organ. From the outside the completely unadorned tabernacle is reminiscent of an incredible large turtle.

As there is a festive church service only every Sunday at 2 o’clock in the afternoon we could not attend one which we vividly regretted. The acoustics in this huge building are excellent. Despite the length of the hall one hears every word whispered at the opposite end and can even hear the fall of a pin onto the gallery balustrade, an experiment our guide proudly demonstrated.

To the East of the tabernacle lies the new temple completed in 1862, a stately building of light-grey granite with three towers each on both narrow sides. The middle tower of the Eastward facing main façade is crowned by a colossal statue made out of richly gilded copper that represents the Mormon angel Moroni. As, in my view, the proportions of this building’s height to its width can not be brought into harmonic accord, I can not declare it beautiful. But due to its size it has a commanding look. In the temple religious acts are performed such as marriages, baptisms and consecrations of priests and bishops as well as sermons preached and special prayers held. The new temple did cost 4,000.000 dollars up to now and is said to be richly decorated in its interior. Unfortunately the entrance is permitted only to Mormons. That’s why we had to make do with viewing only its exterior.

Not far from the temple we saw the tithing storehouse where the Mormons have to deliver the quite considerable tithe in kind and for this purpose there were vehicles with goods to be delivered. Next to this prosaic building was a small district owned once by Brigham Young who ruled his congregation like a small tyrant. Here there are the hive house and the lion house ornamented with their respective symbolic emblems. They are worth mentioning as in these buildings lived ten wives of the prophet while his favorite wife owned a villa for herself alone on the opposite side.  Brigham Young had 42 wives and was blessed with children whose numbers according to different sources are said to be 56 to 76. Even if the former number is the right one, the unusual head of the family must have had not inconsiderable difficulties in providing food for his household and upholding domestic tranquillity.

Among the gentiles very drastically interpreted photographic caricatures are circulating about the marital life of Brigham Young which would in itself be a sufficient deterrent to join this sect. Currently three widows of the the much-married man are still alive as well as some sons. One out of this offspring we encountered in the streets.

At the spot where Brigham Young and his band of Mormons ended their long trek and divided the surrounding terrain and organized the planning of the city rises a not very tasteful statue showing an eagle that sits like a brooding hen on four plump iron arches. The grave of Brigham Young who died in 1877 and those of many of his wives are covered only with an unadorned stone in a lawn surrounded by poplars and a wrought iron gate.

The most beautiful view upon the city and its surroundings to the wide area of the salt lake is offered from Prospect Hill. With pleasure the eye is resting on the numerous poplar, acacia and maple avenues as well as the gardens over which the temple and the tabernacle are towering in their huge bulkiness. From here one can also see Fort Douglas that „Uncle Sam“ has built after the Mormons had come into too much open contradiction of the laws and institutions of the United States.

Our talkative driver, who seemed to have been a very intimate friend of „Whisky“, then guided us across the whole city and showed us the houses of the most important Mormons and the most beautiful hotels, among them the Templeton Hotel where I took the elevator to the fourth floor to enjoy the panorama from there too.

Finally we visited some curio shops in which very pretty objects, especially minerals from the numerous mines in the vicinity, Indian objects and furs were offered. The Mormons with which I spoke during this encounter made no secret about their feeling much pressure from the constant increase of gentiles and that the polygamy was still continuing despite it being no longer recognized by law.

The remaining time of the afternoon I spent writing in my rolling home, the Pullman car while my gentlemen drove again into the city. Towards the evening a bad tempest unloaded itself in pouring rain with thunder and lightning which escorted us out of the city during our departure  to Colorado Springs.

Links

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  • ANNO – on 29.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Pitt und Fox“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Walküre“.

Livingston — Butte City, 28 September 1893

The train led on a branch line of the Northern Pacific Railway in a Southeastern direction across a bare and sad area, through uncultivated hilly terrain and only in the distance the peaks of the Rocky Mountains were visible. Everywhere we saw cattle in great numbers that seemed to be well nourished despite the poor soil. One and a half hour before Butte City the land turned mountainous. The train crossed deeply cut valleys and gorges on tall wooden bridges. Numerous round rock blocks of considerable size were laying around everywhere allowing only sparse tree growth in the few open places.

At many points we could see clear signs of mining that is very actively undertaken in this Rocky Mountain district rich in ore and centered on Butte City. This mining city in the purest sense of the word is situated in a bare valley surrounded by mountains and is recognizable from afar by its smoking stacks. In the middle of the surrounding area of the city rises a hill rich in ore whose copper and silver deposits are extracted by several mines. The attached machine houses, various laundries and large heaps of dead rocks covered the surface of the hill. Small tracks on which wagons and sledges with the mined ore moved led from site to site. Everywhere there was smoke, hammering and knocking.

Around this hill are arranged the city and some settlements that have in time become suburbs, so that Butte currently has 40.000 inhabitants. If American cities in general are known to have been built without taste and present a chilling sight, then Butte City must count to be among the worst.

One should imagine a community of a considerable extent where not one tree, not one spot of green, the motley houses are built on clay or sand and in the more distant roads are reminiscent of gypsy wagons. Everywhere the Non plus ultra of tastelessness is achieved. The roads are bumpy like a miserable country road. And still there are millionaires living in the city but they do not indulge in any luxuries here and do not embellish their sad homes and only amass dollars.

A dense network of wires extended over the roofs and bright boards with obtrusive ads covered the front and side walls of all buildings. In a two-hour tour I have never receiver viler impressions than here but am still satisfied to have seen Butte City as my opinion that one has to see for oneself and not let one’s judgement be formed only by descriptions was confirmed once more.

I was interesting in visiting one of the mines and thus I drove to a mine where I was informed that the officials and workers were at lunch and the mine at rest which made me conclude that a European shift organization that prevented the interruption of the work flow was not possible to install in this „free“ country here. After longer discussions, one worker was ready to show us the mine which was said to go down 335 m and we entered as seven on a sledge intended for four persons. Fortunately we stopped already at the second level and, each equipped with a flickering candle, followed a gallery until we arrived at the work place after we had climbed over multiple ladders. Here the copper and silver veins in the rock were visible in a strange clay mass.

Mining is done in terraces that lie one above the other and are supported by wooden pillars and as elsewhere, they do use plenty of the cheap wood here. The profit  of the mine seems to be small as only 60 workers were employed and everything looked quite shabby. I thus refrained from visiting the likewise resting laundry and smeltery and returned to the station.

Then started an extended period of shifting our wagons in which they were pushed together so forcefully that only their excellent construction prevented damage, as we often had had the opportunity to observe this.

Light-heartedly we parted from Butte City and drove up to dusk to the South towards Salt Lake City through a bare valley with numerous small stations. Alongside the tracks numerous herds were mingling. Some beautiful light effects were produced by the setting sun in the mountains and compensated for the strong monotony of the area.

Links

  • Location: Butte, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 28.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Das Heiratsnest“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel — Livingston, 27 September 1893

As the mail still had not arrived on the morning train, I used the time up to the departure to Cinnabar to pay a visit to Captain Anderson, commander of the cavalry detachment stationed here in order to have a look at the menagerie he had assembled which was to be sent to Washington. Captain Anderson had sent me into a fit of despair the evening before when he assured me that he could have arranged for a permission to hunt some predators in the park if we had announced our wishes a few days earlier. How easy it would have been to kill one of those tin-loving bears!

The captain was living in a nicely equipped log house and knew many interesting details about the affairs in the park. His squadron has a very demanding job as it requires many guards and patrols that mainly have to look out for poachers and who have to overcome many dangers given the audacity of the poachers. A poacher was just recently relieved of a nice pony that was standing near the log house.

The menagerie was small but counted among it many remarkable pieces, thus a porcupine, a young buzzard, a badger-like animal unknown to me, three rather tame beavers that could be taken out of the cage and wandered around freely. In an iron cage sat a black bear that had been caught only a few days before and was to undertake a journey to Washington. Four delightful wapiti calves were totally tame, and came running on call, sniffing us curiously, while a fox fled into its artificial cave only to peek out of a tube with a cunning glance from time to time but immediately retiring at every approach.

During the morning some caravans of „sour dough tourists“ arrived which refers to the families that move through and now out of the park with a fully packed wagon, with their children and their stuff. We had encountered several of them already on the first day of our tour. The vehicle, their baggage and the passengers showed clearly visible marks of their gypsy-like roaming. The way these nature lovers visit the park is without doubt a very strange one and a hardly comprehensible way for us to enjoy the summer time. Any demands for comfort these travelers may have to forsake, and whether they find compensation for their many deprivations of their exhausting journey in their boundless existence is dependent on the favor of hazard and the weather’s caprices and thus can not be predicted but seems to be the case.

On the small square I then inspected a cavalry detachment, about half a squadron that performed exercises to an officer’s command. The troop exercised developments and movements that were a bit more complicated than those used at home. The development of a skirmish line where the carbine is grabbed while mounted seems to be one of the most important evolutions. The horses were noticeably tall, strong and also good, mostly white horses. The riding of the soldiers and the rough treatment of the horses I found less sympathetic. The riders wore standard dark-blue uniforms with yellow lacing on the pants and gray slouch hats and tall heavy boots. The armament consisted of saber, revolver and carbine. The latter and the saber were attached on the saddle.

To Cinnabar we came faster this time than the outward journey as the route was in a better condition and was mostly downhill. In this place we had to wait for a long time for the departure of the train of the Northern Pacific Railroad which would take us to Butte City by the way of Livingston. We then intend to travel on to the center of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, our next destination.

During the waiting time in Cinnabar we spoke with an old Saxon who had run away from his homeland to lead a free life in America as a hunter and trapper that apparently pleased him very much. Currently the man engages in a very brisk trade in bear furs and fossilized wood. With special enthusiasm he told us from his hunting expeditions on which he shoots the game emerging from the park but became very agitated when I asked him whether he was married and professed himself as a confirmed bachelor (Hagestolz).

Due to a happy coincidence, I was able to see the most audacious female rider of the area who is able to tame even the most intractable and wild horse, but has been quite neglected by nature as far as beauty and female grace are concerned.

In Livingston we had to use our Pullmann Car also as our night’s lodging as the train to Butte City was only to arrive towards 4 o’clock in the morning. The former city is a known trading place for furs and hides. In the shops one may buy the following: puma, bear, wolf, fox, cat and marten furs, buffalo hides, numerous antlers among them capital ones from wapiti and black-tail deer as well as from mountain sheep. Furthermore a lot of Indian curiosities such as weapons, jewellery and various products of the local industry.

The prices demanded by the merchants were completely outrageous. Furthermore we had to accept it as a kind of grace that they sold us the desired piece for our good money or even receive some sort of packaging. A simple Indian shawl cost 10 dollars, a badly stuffed buffalo head 600 dollars and a pair of wapiti antlers up to 200 dollars. Still our shopping craze was great as we had found many beautiful objects.

When I sent two of my gentlemen with all the necessary attestations and certifications to the post master in the evening and asked him to hand out my mail here in Livingston that had arrived at almost the same time as we and was addressed to Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, I had to experience another proof of American unfriendliness that was very detrimental for our mood. Even though the gentlemen also presented a letter from the post master at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in which he asked his colleague to hand us out the late-arriving mail which was just then laying on the counter so that individual addresses could be read and one could note that among the letters there were also some whose quick reception was important for me, the impolite post master did not want to give us our mail at any price and insisted to send it on to the place of address despite all our means used to change his opinion.Finally he put on his hat and left his office without a word.

Links

  • Location: Livingston, Montana, USA
  • ANNO – on 27.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Der Meister von Palmyra“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Romeo und Julie“.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, 26 September 1893

As I wanted to see the wonders of the Great Canyons again, I rushed at sunrise to another viewing point called Look-out Point. The sun was shining brightly into the color labyrinth and made the yellow tones stand out especially intensely. In the gorge an osprey was flying up and down and above us on a steep peak one could once again see an aerie. From Look-out Point I went up the very steep path with my quite unsuitable urban half-boots  to the great waterfall to the cliff that lay above it and offers a good overview of the rapids and the fall’s cauldron in which tree trunks were swirling.

As the coach was not yet there in place, we decided to undertake a small hunt for the most lovely striped squirrels that were scurrying around on the trees and the ground. There were many of them but we managed to bag but one as sticks and stones were our only weapons.

The drive soon after this frowned upon entertainment went in a Western direction through wooded undulating land and offered little variety. Just when we reached the Norris Hotel and returned to the already familiar road, we saw basalt rocks of adventurous forms in a gorge, among them an eminent big block called the „devil’s elbow“.

At the funny Irishman’s we ate breakfast again in the tent with numerous flies and continued the morning’s hunt for squirrels, with as much cover as possible from the watchful eyes of the soldiers, as the coachmen declared that they had to rest their horses here for at least one and a half hours.

An immense number of fallen trees and wood pieces under which the very fast animals disappeared lightning-fast and into their burrows with wide-ranging passages that served also as hiding places made our start more difficult. After we had bravely run around for some time, we had finally bagged five pieces one among them still alive as it had fled into an empty tin box when it was pursued hard.

While we had seen the road between Morris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs in winter dress and in considerable cold weather, the landscape now offered a very different picture: The snow had given way to the warming rays of the sun, so that the colors of the broadleaf trees that were changing between red, yellow and green were put on display to the fullest, especially the prairie-like high plateau and the ledges around Swan Lake. At Beaver Lake, none of its inhabitants. the industrious beavers, showed up while just before the Golden Gate another rare representative of the American animal world, namely the pronghorn, an especially notable strong male, became visible at shooting distance from the wagon and ran across the open area and repeatedly stood still without any sign of timidity. This antelope — America possesses but this one species — reminded me in gait and behavior of both our deer and the chamois. Very original are the hook-like crooked strong antlers.

Shortly afterwards I saw another strange animal move through the low bushes to the prairie at about 200 paces. At first I considered it to be a beaver due to its color and gait, but I soon recognized that it was a porcupine that had noticed our presence and had already turned around to flee. Quickly we jumped from the wagon and stormed after the animals using our lungs and legs to their fullest capacity and cornered it after an extended run. When the distance between us and the porcupine became to small, it jumped into a ditch where it was killed with a hunting knife. The American porcupine is quite different from the Indian one: The pines are considerably shorter, the front part of the body has long bristly hairs and it is of a darker color.

So we nevertheless bagged, without breaching the „No Shooting“ in the Yellowstone Park, a skunk, a porcupine and six squirrels as well as an innocent finch that had been hit by a projectile during the squirrel hunt. We still lifted, even though the hunt could not be called a noble one in honor of St. Hubert, our last and most interesting catch into the wagon with joy.

Towards the evening we arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel where a major disappointment awaited us as the long expected mail had not yet arrived despite it being firmly promised.

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