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Author Archives: Michael L. Grace

Southern Pacific’s COAST DAYLIGHT was America’s most beautiful train!

The Coast Daylight had its inaugural run on March 1, 1937 between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was hauled by GS-2 steam locomotives. It was the first of the Daylight series that also included the San Joaquin Daylight, Shasta Daylight, Sacramento Daylight, and Sunbeam. The Coast Daylight ran behind steam from March 1937 until it was dieselized on January ... Read More »

THE DURBAN CASTLE – DEATH CRUISE…

Murder, suspicious deaths and disappearing at sea aboard liners from Cunard to Union-Castle have made cruise history.   The romantic decks of “The Love Boat” can be a very dangerous place. As for cruising the past, history finds there were two or three murders supposedly linked to Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary before WW 2.  Another murder druing the during the ... Read More »

1938 – SS St. Louis – The Voyage of the Damned…

What was the Coast Guard’s role in the SS St. Louis affair, often referred to as “The Voyage of the Damned”? SS ST LOUIS arrives Havana, Cuba. But never docked in Havana Harbor.  In the years since the end of the Second World War, the exact role of the US Coast Guard in the so-called “Voyage of the Damned” has ... Read More »

The LOS ANGELES STEAMSHIP COMPANY… USC rooters heading north for Stanford game on the SS YALE!

 They called them the “White Flyers of the Pacific.”  Overnight by sea between Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco… USC rooters heading north from Los Angels to San Francisco on the SS Yale for the Stanford/USC football game.  The sister ships Yale and Harvard were the fastest steamships on the California coast. Between 1911 and 1936—with a few years ... Read More »

COASTAL SHIPS – from Vancouver to British Columbia ports and Alaska… the Union Steamship Company…

The Klondike gold rush galvanized the Union Steamship Company to begin operations in Alaska. The company was founded in 1889 by John Darling, the director of a New Zealand shipping company who recognized a great need for a scheduled service that would transport supplies and work crews to various northern BC sites; he also realized there was little competition in ... Read More »

Social History: 1940s Promotional Film Shows Chicago From Another Era…

From United Airlines to Rock Island Streamliners to Cruise-Ships… Incredible film produced by the Chicago Board Of Education gives an aerial and ground tour of Chicago during the 1940s where it shows the city’s former industrial areas, its educational institutions and art deco skyline.  Chicago – A Film from the Chicago Board Of Education on Vimeo. Click on above to watch ... Read More »

The Pullman Porters…

They made beds and cleaned toilets. They shined shoes, dusted jackets, cooked meals and washed dishes. Yet the Pullman porters created history in the face of adversity and racial prejudice. They helped form the foundation for the black middle class, and became instrumental in the civil rights movement. Follow two former porters as they travel from their homes in Seattle ... Read More »

SS HARVARD – California’s night boat from Los Angeles to San Francisco went aground in 1931…

On May 31, 1931 the passenger steamship SS Harvard went aground off Point Arguello, California. The Harvard was running its regular schedule between San Francisco and Los Angeles with 500 passengers when it went hard aground during the night in heavy fog. The sea was calm and there was no panic among the passengers. The Harvard’s lifeboats were lowered and ... Read More »

SS UNITED STATES – The last American liner still afloat. But for how long?

Best-selling author and illustrator David Macaulay made a case last Thursday for saving the SS United States, a once-majestic ocean liner that has been deteriorating for years at a pier along the Delaware River. It’s “a unique object, a symbol of time in American history that we’ve sort of long since passed,” Macaulay said in a telephone interview. “It’s important ... Read More »

TITANIC HISTORY – At least it won’t sink: Former headquarters of RMS Titanic’s White Star Line transformed into luxury hotel…

The former headquarters of the White Star Line – the shipping company which built and operated the ill-fated RMS Titanic liner – have been transformed into a luxury hotel thanks to a £5.5million renovation, pictured above. The hotel now boasts 65 lavish apartments which will house up to 310 guests across 11 floors… The former headquarters of the shipping company ... Read More »

Cruise Ship Firsts Through History…

Cruises as we know them today are really only about 50 years old, but the tradition goes back more then a hundred years when passengers started booking travel on mail ships crossing the Atlantic… These cargo vessels evolved into the grand ocean liners whose names we still remember: Lusitania, Titanic, Queen Mary. Now the cruise lines are always competing to ... Read More »

The Flight Attendant and MAD MEN TV…from PAN AM to PSA…

Stewardesses play a role in the MAD MEN TV series. They are a central part of the social travel history of the JFK to Johnson decade.  Here’s a look at the women flight attendants who flew PAN AM, TWA and PSA – vanished American institutions and airlines. This is the period of MAD MEN. Set in 1960s New York, the ... Read More »

GHOST SHIPS – THE MYSTERIOUS ABANDONED SEA VESSELS AND GHOSTLIKE PASSENGER SHIPS…

A lot of things can happen at sea — pirates, mutiny, murder and bad weather not to mention (if you’re so inclined) alien abductions, clashes with sea monsters and the mysterious workings of the Bermuda Triangle. George Raft plays a ship’s captain who sets out to get the guys who murdered his father in Johnny Angel (1945) – Raft’s father is the captain ... Read More »

1949: 3-Week MISSISSIPPI Cruise aboard the steamboat GORDON C. GREENE – Ten Dollars a Day!

This is one of the last journeys aboard the steamboat Gordon C. Greene in 1949. The steamboat Delta Queen replaced the older steamboat in the same year. The Greene Line was a line of river steamships along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  The name was later changed to Delta Queen Steamboat Company.   1849: The Steamboat Gordon C. Greene heads down the Mississippi for New Orleans. (Left: Capt. ... Read More »

OSCAR HISTORY… Judy Garland in A STAR IS BORN…

Video history of the 1954 world premiere at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre… When movies were movies and stars were stars… Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Lauren Bacall are seen at the New York premiere of A STAR IS BORN in 1954… This is a great video on the Hollywood premiere for STAR IS BORN at the Pantages Theatre.  Lot’s of fun and ... Read More »