Archive for the ‘Gilded Age’ Category

I’ve been posting from my 1881 diary which was written by 13 year old Ernestine. She’s just leaving the port of Gibraltar and heading to Genoa Italy on board her fathers ship. You can find all her entries by clicking into “19th Century Travel Diaries” under the BLOGROLL on the right hand side of this page. Happy New Year to you all.


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October 10th, 1887

(Sally here: I’ve been so busy with my other diaries and trying to get them organized. Plus I was a bit surprised when I turned the page of Edith’s diary to post another entry and there is only one more left!!! Oh goodness. So, before I post this last entry I want to thank you all for following Edith’s diary posts. Secondly, I’m deciding what adventure to take us on next and whose diary I’m going to use to take us on that adventure. I do have some very personal letters that were written in 1922 by Edith Vanderbilt’s ex-husband Ernesto Fabbri. They were written after their very famous and tumultuous divorce but I’m not sure if I should post those yet. But, either way I will have another set of diary posts from another diary very soon and I promise not to disappoint….)

 “October 10th,

Quebec Canada. We went to the only French Protestant Church here and heard an excellent sermon. There were only about fifty people in the whole church. The usual minister was absent and we heard a minister from Montreal. The church is situated on St. John’s Street and those who went walked there and back. I did nothing but write and read this afternoon. This evening I took a walk with papa and Gussie on the Dufferin Terrace. You have a beautiful from here. Across the river is the little town of Levis. What an extraordinary time we are having.”


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“September 28th, 1887

Toronto and from Toronto Canada

This morning I did nothing much so I will say a few things about this city. The hotel is on Front Street and two blocks below across the railroad track is Lake Ontario. The principal shopping street is King St. No saloons are allowed to be open here on Sunday. They all close at six o’clock Saturday night and remain so till seven o’clock Monday morning. No shops remain open on Sunday and no street cars and omnibus’s run on that day. The women are allowed to vote here who are widows or maiden ladies with some property. This afternoon I went to the cyclorama “The Battle of Sedan” which is very good. After tea we went to the station where we waited a few minutes for the “Riva”. That night we slept on the cars.”


 “September 29th,

From Ottawa to Montreal Canada.

At ten o’clock this morning we left our car which had been standing in the station for several hours and took carriages to drive to the Russell House.


 The smoke from the great forest fires around was so dense that the roofs just above us were scarcely visible. However, after waiting at the Russell House a few minutes for papa we went in carriages to see something of the city, the capitol of Canada. The Parliament Houses are very fine, built of a grayish stone. The House of Commons is large, furnished in green with galleries around, the columns, of which are made of Canadian marble. The Senate House is quite fine with red furniture and galleries the same as those of the House of Commons. The Library is large with a marble statue of Victoria in the centre and books all around the walls and in projections of which there are several in the room. We then visited the Governor General’s house. It is large but plain and has extensive grounds. Madame Corte, formerly Mells Hestere, our governess, came to dinner and afterwards showed us her little comfortable house. At 4:30 we left Ottawa for Montreal where we arrived at Windsor Hotel at 8:30 P.M.”


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(Sally Here: I’ve been busy trying to get all my diaries organized and put into fireproof safes. Been a long time coming, so I haven’t been as faithful at my posts as I should be. Finally gaining some headway and will be posting more regularly. Edith’s next entry is on the 25th of September. She didn’t write anything from September 17th to the 24th as she just writes that they are in Cincinnati Ohio.)

 “September 25th, 1887 Cincinnati Ohio

This morning we went to the first Presbyterian Church and heard a good sermon. In the afternoon I wrote some and read a little. We all went to bed early on account of our having to rise early on the following morning.”

 “September 26th,

We were called at 6 A.M. this morning for the train. Started at 9:30. We had our breakfast on the cars. All day we journeyed comfortably, traveling north through Ohio. Towards evening entering Toledo Station where three months ago we stopped for an hour to make a connection. We soon after had crossed into Michigan and after we had finished tea entered Detroit. Here our car waited for some time for another train and in the mean while some of us took a little walk through the streets. After another few minutes the Riva was pushed on a boat and we crossed the Detroit River into Canada! We travelled all night on the car.”

 “September 27th, Toronto, Lake Ontario Canada

Train arrived at 5 A.M. we went to Hotel “Queens” after breakfasting on the “Riva”.


A little later we took a drive, stopping at the Normal School. We walked through the art rooms which to me were extremely interesting. The mythological gods of the Greeks were represented in marble and plasters. Copies of ancient Italian paintings hung on the walls. Busts of famous men and poets clustered in the broad halls and the mysteries of Egypt lay brightly represented before us. After leaving this delightful place where I should like to spend hours by myself, we took a drive around the city.


There are quite a number of fine but very plain houses around but altogether I did not find Toronto a very attractive looking place. In the afternoon I did nothing much but was in a perfect whiz of excitement all the time for in the evening I was going to see Rosina Vokes. It was the first time I had ever been to the theatre in my life and I enjoyed it beyond words. The plays were “The Widow’s Device” and “The Double Lesson.”


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Sally here: Well, it looks like Edith and her family started on their trip back east as this next entry finds them 15 days later in Minnesota attending the fair…..


 “September 10th, 1887

This morning we went to the Minnesota State Fair. It takes about twenty minutes by rail and the fair grounds and buildings are situated about half way between Minneapolis and St. Louis. The first building we went in to was the Agricultural building. Here we saw species of different crops and plants raised in Minnesota. The ceiling was in places, decorated very prettily with wheat. I saw here some of the largest corn stalks I have ever seen. The cranberries and different grains were also very fine. The second building was, I think, the Merchant’s Building. Here in little stalls the different manufactured articles were exhibited. What interested me most in the fair were some pieces of petrified wood which were perfectly beautiful. They resembled the finest polished marble but were much more beautiful as they had more of a variety of colors than marble.”

 “September 12th, From St. Louis to Duluth Minnesota

At 9:40 A.M. we started for Duluth. Our journey was northward and we traveled through Wisconsin which is very wooded with trees, till we almost reached Duluth when we again entered Minnesota. Duluth is in the North Eastern part of Minnesota. We arrived at 5:30 P.M. in a pouring rain and drove through muddy streets to the St. Louis Hotel which is directly opposite the Opera House and stands on Superior Street.”

 (Sally here: The following site has some amazing pictures of Duluth in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. About the 43rd picture down is one of the St. Louis Hotel.)


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“August 20th, 1887 Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Territory

This morning was spent under the trees some of us reading and others writing. Yesterday and today have been extremely hot to what the weather is generally here in the park. But the nights are always cool, we being on an elevation of 6,000 feet. At five P.M. we took a horseback ride to the hot springs near the Gardner River. The water here is hot enough to cook the fish that you catch in the cold river and this can be done by merely throwing your line, if long enough, directly over your head into the hot springs and then cook your fish without moving from the place you caught them in. We had a delightful ride and galloped very fast in coming home as the way is mostly up hill. Of course our ride made us all very lame as it is the first one we have enjoyed since we left the Yosemite.”


 “August 21st, The Yellowstone National Park

This morning we staid in the house reading and writing and the earlier part of the afternoon was spent in the same way. But at five o’clock I went out with Nellie, Louise and Miss Agg’s who was on the “Olympian” with us. We walked around and over the Mammoth Hot Spring basin which are situated a little to the south of the hotel. These springs are some of the most wonderful things I have ever seen. The formations are of the most beautiful colors of the rainbow, while some of the pools, all of which are mineral, are pink, others yellow, while some are the most deep beautiful turquoise and sapphire. Minerva Terrace is a white formation which glistens in the sunlight. It is beautifully shaped in sort of long wavy caves. Cupid’s Cave is a most beautifully colored, fairy like Grotto. Oh dear, I can’t say what I want to!!!!”


 (Sally here: There is only one more day that she writes while in Yellowstone and I’ve quoted it below. She then jumps to September 10th where the family is in St. Louis at the Minnesota State Fair. I’ll quote those excerpts in a few days.)

 “August 25th,

While we were at breakfast this morning everyone jumped from the table to see the Lion Geyser go off….From the Firehole to the Canyon Hotel, Yellowstone National Park. Pleasant day with a few showers in the afternoon. At 9:15 this morning we started again. Gussie and I rode horseback first but the pony did not go at all well. He would not trot well or he would not canter but went half and half which was horrid. While I was on his back we forded four streams, two of which were very deep, the water reaching above the knees of the ponies. We did not go the usual way to the Canyon but went on a road which is a few mile shorter, it was however, dreadful, everyone by mamma were obliged to get out of the wagon at a very steep hill and walk up it. The road was perfectly fearful. We had hardly a mile of smoothness all the way and our journey was 29 miles long. We had our lunch under the trees which was great fun. A little before five we came in sight of Tower Falls and then we passed the Sulphur Mountain, it all being sulphur. At about quarter passed five arrived here at Canyon Hotel.”

 (Sally here: Can you just imagine riding horseback through Yellowstone Park 125 years ago! It’s amazing now but I can imagine what it was like then. This first web site is a painting of Tower Falls and Sulphur Mountain. It was painted in 1875. The second site is the Canyon Hotel. The hotel is the fourth and fifth photo down on the site. The first one shows what the hotel looked like around the time when Edith was staying there. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/4626584507/


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“August 17th, 1887 On the “Riva” to the Yellowstone National Park

Early this morning before we had our breakfast we arrived at Helena, the capitol of Montana. Papa, Gussie, Alice, Junior and I took a drive around the place which is very pretty, I think, but not so very large.”

(Sally here: This web site shows some incredible homes and buildings in Helena and many of them were from the 1880’s)


 “August 18th, The Yellowstone National Park

Louisa’s 17th Birthday

This morning we spent sewing and reading under a clump of trees! Papa gave Louise a in with little diamonds and pearls in it. Mama gave her a beautiful pearl ring. Alice gave her a pretty silver book mark and from Junior she received a little silver box and from Marguerite a silver frame with her picture in it. Nellie and Gussie gave her together a little leather note book with silver mountings and her name in silver on it. From Grandma she received a cut glass bottle mounted in silver. From Maud Barger there came in a letter a little silver book mark and one from Josephine Cool also. I gave her two picture frames for traveling and a little pink bag I made. In the afternoon we took a drive to “Golden Gate” and Swan Lake and saw the pretty falls of the Gardner River. I was Swan Lake is merely a pond in a field!!!!! In the evening for supper there was a delicious birthday cake with candles.”

(Sally here: They sure do like their silver)


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