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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Prairie Schooner: 1915

Prairie Schooner: 1915

March 1915. "San Francisco by wagon from Staten Island, New York." Three guys and a dog and their two-horsepower hybrid in Washington, taking the Overland Trail west. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

That title Panama-Pacific

That title Panama-Pacific International Exposition kind of threw me for a second since I live in San Diego and thought that was held in San Diego's newly completed Balboa Park, not San Francisco. But then it dawned on me that ours was called the Panama Exposition in the same year, 1915. Never thought why it had the Panama in the name, but now I know from Wikipedia that both these events were celebrating the Panama Canal opening, along with some opportune marketing. Okay by me, Balboa Park was a great result, and is still a jewel as far as I'm concerned.

Westward Ho! By Wagon

"Staten Island Prairie Schooner is Going to S.F."

Driving up to the City Hall yesterday in an old-fashioned prairie schooner drawn by two horses, John Urflinger and William Stevens obtained a letter from Mayor Mitchel to deliver to Mayor Rolph of San Francisco.

The odd trip across the continent is being made in the interest of Staten Island business men, who want it advertised that Staten Island is the gateway of the Eastern Coast, just as San Francisco is supposed to be the gateway of the Western.

The schooner was driven about Manhattan yesterday, and today a trip will be made through Brooklyn. Tomorrow at noon Charles J. McCormack of Richmond Borough will start the wagon on its long overland trip to the Western city where it is due to arrive before the Panama-Pacific International Exposition ends.

NY Times, 24 Feb 1915

Not heard during the course of the trip....

"Are we there yet?"

Drebby's Hobo Life

New York Times, Oct. 24, 1979

John Drebinger, 88, Baseball Reporter, Is Dead

John Drebinger, who was dean of the nation's baseball writers when he retired in 1964 after 40 years with the New York Times, died Monday at a nursing home in Greensboro, N.C. He was 88 years old.

His colleagues called him Drebby and one of them related his departure to "the retirement of Winston Churchill, the storming of the Bastille, the discovery of gunpowder or the instituting of income taxes: life goes on, but an era has ended."

Indeed, when 11-year-old John Drebinger saw his first baseball game, it was played in the afternoon on real grass. The Boer War had ended in that June of 1902, ZuZu ginger snaps first appeared on grocery shelves, Wanamaker's was selling patent leather shoes for $1.90 a pair and a pound of coffee was 10 cents.

The youngster was on his way to becoming a concert pianist -- his father was a violinist with the New York Metropolitan Orchestra -- but a thumb wound suffered while sharpening ice skates ended that aspiration.

After an eight-year stay with the Staten Island Advance -- which included an ill-fated cross-country journey in a covered wagon that he termed the most exciting experience of his life -- Mr. Drebinger joined The Times for the "hobo life" of a baseball writer. For the next four decades he traveled 30,000 miles a year with the Yankees, the Giants and the Dodgers, saw 6,000 baseball games and ate "tons of hot dogs." From 1929 through 1963, he covered all 203 World Series Games.

Boosting the Eden of NYC

I noted the curious geographical sense of these boys as well. I think the map might be drawn this way (flipping East and West) so that as they travel westward, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are oriented with the wagon.


In Wagon to San Francisco

Staten Island Boosters Reach Washington
On Coast-to-Coast Trip.

Three hardy young men, tanned with exposure incidental to life in a prairie schooner passed through here last week en route to the exposition at San Francisco over the old overland trail. They were all residents of Staten Island and are boosting that particular spot as the Eden of Greater New York. They are John Drebinger, William Stephens, and Edward Smith. They left Staten Island February 27, and expect to reach California about September 1.

The trio paid a visit to Secretary Bryan yesterday. They Secretary greeted them cordially, they said. An expressed desire to see President Wilson was not gratified. The party will continue on their way today.

Washington Post, Mar 14, 1915


UPDATE: It appears the boys made it as far as Denver. I'm not positive, but it seems likely this is the same John Drebinger who was a baseball reporter at the New York Times for over 40 years.

Coastal Confusion

Strange that they have the Pacific Ocean (and west coast) east of Staten Island. I hope they didn't just drive off a pier into the Atlantic.

Any more details?

Any more information on this trek? Trying to discern some details on the canvas (with the peculiar map drawn on the side with east to the left):

Highlandtown, Maryland seems to be a neighborhood inside Baltimore.

I can't find anything on Frank A. Blum.

"Ask the driver for a booklet"?

Anyway, it's nice to see the Capitol again with private cars driving right up to it and no surrounding guardhouses, fences, and bollards.

Friends

I wonder how good friends they all were when they finally got there?

Wandering and Wondering

if they made it to San Fran and how many spare wheels they carried. Not to mention support for the horses. Looks cosy enough though for three. Maybe it's their midlife crisis.

 
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