Taking the S&DR to the World: 23rd October 2019

Had a ‘tourist’ day in Santa Fe but couldn’t get away from railways.  In the New Mexico History Museum they include the story of the coming of the railways and their impact.   There is an exhibition on employment on the railways and another on a revered local businessman (from England) who built a chain of hotels and restaurants to service rail passengers.  He also gave employment opportunities to respectable girls with a high school education – really quite progressive for his day.  The story of these young women is also told in quite a lot of detail.

In the museum there is a painting of a female figure representing Destiny – one of the presidents claimed that the USA had a ‘manifest destiny’ to rule the northern part of the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  The painting shows the trains pushing westwards from the eastern seaboard into the centre of the continent – with the Native American Indians and the buffalo all fleeing westwards before them.  The painting can be interpreted in different ways, but to me it makes clear the impact that railways had on indigenous peoples and animals.