The Pacific Tourist — 1881

Take a ride on the Union and Central Pacific Railroads!


This series of guidebooks told you everything you needed to know as you rode the train across the continent, bound for California. Once you got to the Golden State, the book guided you on all the routes throughout the state, describing each station and town, and all the beauties and wonders to be seen along the way. It was lavishly illustrated with etchings of the scenic marvels of America.

Here is the page telling you what to expect as you journey northward on the Central Pacific Railroad through Chico and Red Bluff to its terminus at Redding. Gridley and Biggs are “both new and flourishing towns,” and Chico is “one of the best and most prosperous towns in California,” where you can see the beautiful home of General Bidwell, one of California’s “most enterprising citizens.”


If your destination is anywhere else in Northern California not on the rail line, such as  Big Meadows, Cherokee Flat, or Orland, the guidebook tells you all about the connecting stagecoach lines. What a valuable book! Well worth the price of $1.50 for the railroad (paperback) edition, or $2.00 for the hardback edition.

Don’t leave home without it!

(My thanks to the California State Library, which pointed out that these books are available on the Internet Archive.)

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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