This one’s for the boys…

… and all the lady train geeks like me! The bright red engine looks so festive. We often put my husband’s childhood train set around the bottom of the Christmas tree. Below is the historic sign for the beautiful art deco but defunct train station in Galveston, Texas. Much like parts of Britain, many train lines were discontinued when cars where in common use. Our township is surrounded by train lines but they only carry freight these days. It’s quite normal to wait for 20 minutes for a train to pass with endless freight carriages. I still love the sound of a train whistle on a quiet night.

As you can see, it was part of the Santa Fe railroad network. As a child, I watched so many American movies with trains, especially Westerns. Just the name Santa Fe Railroad gives me goosebumps, imagining the vistas as you crossed prairie and mountains. We live between Houston and Dallas, and Amtrak still runs passenger trains between the cities. The nearest working station is 40 miles away from us so I doubt we will ever use the current train system.

The museum had ‘populated’ the station with plaster model passengers and it helped to show how glamorous the train station was back in it’s hey day. There are some beautiful art deco buildings and hotels in Galveston – it’s amazing that they have survived so many hurricanes.

The mail sorting rail car was the most exciting part of the museum. It was so perfectly restored after Hurricane Ike damaged it. I loved the idea that the train didn’t have to stop while picking up the mail – and wondered if this technique ever failed!

The Route of the Zephyrs sounds like a dream. I have flown over all of these places and visited some of them. It’s certainly a fascinating view of the vast differences in American landscapes. From steamy, subtropical Houston to pretty Denver surrounded by snow-tipped mountains. Amarillo is my favorite place on the list with the best canyon in Texas.

As we approach Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day as it is known in the US, on Friday 11th November, may we remember all the servicemen and women who perished in war.

Art Deco Tulsa

Stained glass window on rooftop of Mayo Hotel

My biggest surprise in Tulsa was the abundance of fabulous Art Deco architecture.  It was known as the “Terra Cotta City” in the late 1920s which coincided with an oil boom.  My grandfather, Raymond, was born on the Chickasaw Nation, Purcell, Oklahoma in 1899 or 1900 and eventually ended up in San Bernardino in California (where he married Juanita), following various boom towns.  I love to imagine what life was like for both my sets of grandparents, marrying in the 20s and 30s when society was changing dramatically in terms of style and habits.  Irish Nana Kathleen married in a short and daring coffee colored chiffon dress with a matching cloche hat.  I kept it until recently when I passed it on to a younger cousin.

Elevators in Philcade Building

Window display in the lobby of the Philcade Building

Display of Chrome
Philcade Building

The Philcade building had a T shaped lobby lined with shops.  There are few shops now but you can still browse the window displays.  It was designed by architect Leon Senter for oil magnate Waite Phillips.  His brothers formed the Phillips Petroleum company.  Teddy is an oilman (geologist) and we have survived three major slumps.  We used to joke that the 66 in Phillips 66 stood for the amount of geologists they ‘lost’ in a year…it’s not quite as funny as it used to be. Heck, yes it is!

Rooftop of the Mayo Hotel at sunset

Sunset view of the Arkansas River from rooftop Tulsa

Teddy and I had some lovely sunset drinks on the rooftop bar of the Mayo Hotel built in 1925 and designed by architect George Winkler.  It has been wonderfully restored with many of the original features kept intact; from stained glass to ceramic tiles in the coffee shop.

Original tiles in the coffee shop of Mayo Hotel

 

 

 

 

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Standing on route 66, Tulsa

I have wanted to visit Tulsa for such a long time. Finally, Teddy had a short business trip so I accompanied him last fall for a one night stay. It is a small city but I saw some fabulous highlights. Oklahoma is mostly flat prairie, uninteresting to some but the sky goes on forever. Tulsa is unusual because it has hilly terrain. It has been a wealthy city for many years – it is an oil city and on route 66.

Fountain in downtown Tulsa

Downtown Tulsa

I expected people to be friendly and they were, with a little reserve. That might be because we travelled the day after the election in 2016. Everyone was frightened to say anything in case they offend their political viewpoint – we still are, for the most part. You could see that the oil slump had affected some of downtown but it was still resplendent with Art Deco architecture in another boom time and more recently with fantastic modern buildings.

Last year was a strange one for me and my health. The trip was in October and in my head I feel that I have aged hugely, in one year, but when I look at the photograph above I can see a glimmer of happiness. It is strange how the mirror rarely reflects the truth.
More lovely photographs to come from Tulsa.