Let’s Read Sunset, March 1905!

For history of the magazine, check out the Sunset from a few weeks ago.

Initially created as a promotional magazine for the Southern Pacific’s Sunset Limited railroad line, the magazine nudged readers to fall in love with the American west. Early on, the magazine worked to create an image to counter the wild wild west by emphasizing beautiful natural sights such as Yosemite, and welcoming contributions of poetry and fiction from local readers. For a detailed history of the magazine, check out its Wiki.

So here we go!

Cover once again obscured to hide where I work, but I am going to just put it out there – when you’re at your local library, check to see if they have some old magazine archives. You never know what you might come across.

Interesting that you could just pick up stuff directly at the train station, instead of trying to get it shipped through the mail.

The invention of bulleted lists would really have helped this ad.

Come to Santa Cruz! We have big trees! Note that they have a partnership with the swanky Del Monte Hotel that gives their customers the equivalent of a private shuttle from the airport. And, uh, at one point Natural Bridges beach looked like that. We used to have three arches – at the moment, we’re down to one.

Also – hey, fat people! I used to be fat and now I’m not! Let me tell you all about my weight loss secrets! Here’s a hint: it probably involves swallowing a tapeworm.

This extremely expensive luxury car has lasted five whole months in perfectly temperate California weather without any significant problems, can you imagine. I wonder what the difference between the $750 model and the $3000 model was? The more expensive one has brakes?

I think this may be the only time in the history of automobiles that “a mere snail-pace” was used as a selling point.

Send away for a portfolio of saucy beauties in knee-length skirt, perfect for your Victorian man-cave! The first 100 orders get a bonus “nifty dip” pinup.

Hawaii is described as “the newest of Uncle Sam’s possessions”. Cringe.

You’d think they were going a little overkill with the FIRE-PROOF reassurances, but trust me – I used to live in an apartment complex that was a converted grand Victorian hotel, not unlike Ol’ Lankershim up there, and that sucker burned down like eight times in its 100 year old history. It had to be rebuilt so many times that I think the ghosts just threw up their hands and moved out. This is probably the NEW Hotel Lankershim because the old one burned to the ground. FIRE-PROOF: THIS TIME.

Imperial Valley, 1905: so much potential!
Imperial Valley, 2005: we have a mall! And a prison!

And under this (mildly incomprehensible and extremely boring) original short story, a random poem about your friends dying. Thanks, Sunset.

A lovely article mostly about delicious things that one can eat when on vacation in Tahiti. This article may make you hungry for fruit.

“The bulldog grows limp and flaccid in torrid climes – the gamecock, never.” I see what you did there, Mr. Gilmour.

I couldn’t find anything on Guy Le Roy Kennedy, but the author, John Hamilton Gilmour, was a well known writer of the time. Going on his authority of being a British born Anglo-Indian, he brings up Tahiti a lot in relation to India here but I don’t think there was actually much connection. Tahiti has been run by France for the last 500 years or so, and the 17th century Mughal emperor mentioned above was known for being the first Indian emperor to be friendly with the French. Somehow I doubt the veracity of the story about Tahitian mangoes being imported to the emperor’s garden because they were superior to his own.

In which Helen and Effie go to the beach to celebrate a religious holiday that no one in California has apparently ever heard of, and are thoroughly unprepared for sunshine in February.

In which Helen and Effie invent a hot Mexican pirate in order to make Emily jealous back in Minnesota. This concludes Helen and Effie’s crazy Candlemas vacation.

I love this header art. Also manifest destiny and stuff.

Madge Carr Cook, coming off her star-making turn in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, utterly thrilled to be here.

Some charmingly weirdass turn of the century folk poetry.

Fremont Wood’s “My Daughter, She’s Engaged” is killing me. I bet this became a popular thing for Fathers-of-the-Bride to recite out loud at engagement parties, and whatever their equivalent of wedding rehearsal dinners was.

Don’t ask me, I have no idea what the hell “brain f*g” is supposed to be.

L. Worthington-Greene sure does like Mexican food!

Alfred J. Waterhouse alludes my research, so if he was known for anything other than the poetry section of Sunset I’m unaware of it.

I wonder how many teenage boys had a crush on “Hall’s Sicilian Hair Restorer Girl”. She’s so cute!

Send me 8 cents and the names of two flower-loving friends. I’ll do the rest.

Let’s go!

I think that’s a baby in a swing? It’s like a hanging garden planter basket for a baby with a protective anti-fall head bar? If the baby falls out is it the baby’s fault? What does this have anything to do with Switzerland or Lake County?

Featuring supermodel cow Juliana De Kol. I hope she had a good time at the buttermaker’s convention.

You may read all about THE MORMON ENDOWMENT CEREMONY here in this fully digitized volume, because thank you Internet!

Complimentary laudanum is provided at no additional charge with purchase of family fun tickets!

“It’s only ignorance that keeps people tied to the coffee habit”
The people who were into Figprune Coffee must have been insufferable.

“Hurry up with the horses, driver, I do so badly want to see the big tree!”
“Madam, if we go any faster my monocle shall dislodge itself from my person, and in my blindness we shall be driven over a cliff and into the sea.”

That…is not an attractive child. I have no idea what’s happening here.

Fuck, my glasses! Where are they! Dammit, ghost, stop playing keep-away with my glasses! This isn’t funny anymore!


Mulligatawny is an Indian curry soup that was very popular with the English, which makes me wonder what an American factory in 1905 that purports to be making an Indian soup would actually have in terms of ingredients. I have the feeling that if most of the products in your factory are optimized to make chicken and vegetable soup…you’re just going to get a can of chicken vegetable soup with curry powder dumped into it.

I’m a fan of the model in this ad, who looks like she’s about five seconds away from taking a swing at you with…whatever it is that she’s holding. Watch it, boy, you’re gonna get whomped.

The lasting legacy of the Sea Beach Hotel is that it apparently burned down spectacularly, to the point of postcards being created to commemorate the event.

That’s it for this week! Thanks as always for reading. I’m so excited for next time.


Brides, March 1969!