Near Avery in Shoshone County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
Laboring in Luxury
For the price of a Pullman ticket, a common rail passenger could be waited upon and pampered in the grand manner of privileged gentry.
The Pullman porter provided the labor for that luxury…
After the Civil War, the Pullman Palace Car Company, which built and operated luxury passenger and sleeper cars on America's railroads, began staffing their cars with newly freed slaves as porters. It soon became the largest single employer of black Americans.
Pullman porters led a hard, well-traveled and interesting life. They prepared and cleaned the cars and berths, while caring for the comfort and safety of passengers.
Porters assisted at marriages, births, and deaths; soothed celebrities and endured wrecks, holdups and abusive passengers.
Unlike many railroads, for many years the Milwaukee Road built, operated and staffed their own sleeping cars. Beginning in 1927 they turned some of the cars over to Pullman to manage. It sometimes happened that both companies would operate sleeping cars on the same train.
Location. 47° 21.411′ N, 115° 42.996′ W. Marker is near Avery, Idaho, in Shoshone County. Marker can be reached from Moon Pass Road (Federal Road 456) 0.4 miles south of Loop Creek Road (Federal Touch for map. Located along the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Avery ID 83802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. You want to be a Ranger? (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rough Roads & Wrecks (approx. 0.4 miles away); Railroad at WAR! (approx. half a mile away); Bumps on the Milwaukee Road (approx. 0.6 miles away); Not So "Lucky" Swedes (approx. one mile away); The Route of the Hiawatha (approx. one mile away); Busy Bogle Spur (approx. one mile away); The End of the Road? (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avery.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo with the caption, "A Pullman porter with 35-year service stripes lowers the upper berth on a 1930s Olympian tourist sleeper coach. The porter would bring a small ladder for the upper berth; the lower seats are pushed together for the lower berth. Portable headboards and curtains gave some privacy.
On the bottom is an illustration with the caption, "Each Olympian Hiawatha consisted of a powerful locomotive followed by a mail car, baggage dormitory car, four coaches, one dining car, one Touralux sleeping car, the Super Dome lounge car, one roomette car, one bedroom car and the Sky Top Sleeper-Lounge. The last three cars were built and operated by the Pullman Company."
On the upper right is an illustration with the caption, "The Olympian Hiawatha Lounge Coaches…boasted …two-tone paneling in sparkling, innovative Formica plastic, fluorescent lighting and comfy, deep reclining seats."
On the lower right is an illustration with the caption, "The double bedrooms in the sleeping cars and the Sky Top sleeper had new enclosed toilets, folding doors between suites, and popular or classical radio music at the turn of a dial."
Also see . . . Route of the Hiawatha Rail Trail. (Submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 454 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.