297: Map of Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio RR
Map & Promotional of Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway
With Text by “An Old Texan”
297. [MAP]. GALVESTON, HARRISBURG & SAN ANTONIO RAILWAY COMPANY. Broadsheet map: [Recto] Correct Map of Texas Published by Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway. [text lower right at neat line] Rand, Avery & Co. Boston. [key lower center right shows railroads in operation, railroads under construction, wagon roads, and county seats] Explanation. Lithograph map, neat line to neat line: 36.6 x 39.2 cm; overall sheet size: 40.5 x 50.5 cm [title panel on verso with text printed in four columns] Western Texas. A Trip from Houston to San Antonio, over the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. The Sunset Route. Boston: Rand, Avery & Company, [ca. 1877? Yale dates 1876]. Soft creases where formerly folded, a few pinholes at old folds, one minor stain at Wood-Upshur counties, very mild browning at blank margins (not visible from mat), overall a fine copy of an ephemeral imprint. Matted, wooden frame, glazed. The only copy located by OCLC is the Yale copy.
This map and promotional provide an accurate representation of the route at that time along with projected construction. The accompanying text touts the line and the region, with sections on San Antonio, the Alamo, and “The Mountain Region of Western Texas.” The line was chartered in 1850. In its early incarnation as the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado Railway Company, the line became the first part of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company to operate, and the second railroad west of the Mississippi River. The company reorganized in 1870 under the name Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway and was up and running a few years thereafter, calling its line the Sunset Route. The company promoted southwest Texas at an early stage, both in the fulfilled desire to stretch a line to the Pecos River, and in the glowing prose about the area.
The text accompanying the map was “prepared by an old resident of Western Texas,” who describes a journey on the line in March of 1875 in a “splendid Drawing-room Car.” He says he went by the same route thirty years earlier on the back of a Spanish pony and remarks that he has “lived to see Western Texas redeemed from a state of nature and Indian barbarism that enthralled her at that time.” Regarding his fifty-cent dinner at a restaurant at the Bernard station, he comments: “The prettiest young lady waited on the table that can be found in ten thousand miles of railroad travel in any country. This I give for the benefit of my young bachelor readers of North, and as a friend, advise them to come iron-clad.”
In the region between Houston and San Antonio, the “Old Texan” marvels: “Cattle could be seen in every direction as far as the eye could reach; probably there was no time when as many as a thousand could not be seen at once.” He provides a lengthy description of the city of San Antonio (including the Menger Hotel) and then launches into an Anglocentric version of what he considers the foremost historical site in Texas—the Alamo. The final text on “The Mountain Region of West Texas” touches on Kerr, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, and other areas south and west of San Antonio. He concludes that the president of the line, Col. T.W. Peirce, intends to extend the line in that direction, and indeed they did—bridging the Pecos and in 1883 completing the new transcontinental route across Texas. See Item 494 herein.