Reba Burright’s Journey To Chicago
During the 1920’s Reba Burright and Ivy Burright took a train journey to Chicago to meet up with their sister Ora Blanche Burright. Reba documented the trip in one of her notebooks. The notebook has several random sets of hand written notes in it so it is not clear which year she wrote the piece. Her trip to Chicago does not have a stated year but she mentions the trip starting on Sunday, June 3rd. During the mid 1920’s this day and date only occurred in 1923 and 1928, so I assume from years mentioned in other parts of the notebook that the most likely year was 1928.
I am also assuming it was Ivy Burright that traveled with Reba based on the fact that she talks about ‘we’ and mentions:
‘Ivy worked in the B.P.G office just below.’
The fact that both women took jobs means that this must have been an extended visit to the City of Chicago.
During their stop in Kansas City, Reba talks about a flag pole erected by the American Legion. Whilst there is a flag pole memorial in the park it was erected by Jacob Loose in 1915, it is more likely she has confused this with what would have been a more recent addition to the park. The American Legion Memorial II is a memorial for Kansas soldiers and sailors who served in World War One, dedicated in 1921.
Starting the journey to Chicago from Mulhall
“Left Mulhall on 5:30 train for Kansas City, Sunday June 3rd. Passed through Orlando, Perry, Ponca City, Newkirk, Arkansas City, Winfield, Mulvane, Witchita, Newton, Peabody, Florence, Emporia, Osage, Burlingame, Topeka, Lawrence, Kansas City. We arrived in Kansas City at 9:30 am. We scrubbed up and wrote some letters and cards at the Union Station and ate dinner.”
A day in Kansas City
“In the afternoon we too went to Swope Park and saw the Zoo with many kinds of birds and animals in it. We saw the flag pole erected by the American Legion and the pig shelter house. We walked around the town some. It was hot as blazes. At the depot we met the Brame girls from Seminole who went to A and M. They were going to Chicago on the R.L. We slept and roasted all afternoon in basement of Union Station. We left for Chicago at 6:00 o’clock that evening. Crossed the Missouri River just east of town. Passed Through Richmond, Carrollton, Brunswick, Marceline, La Plata, Kirkwood, Fort Madison Iowa.”
Crossing the Mississippi
“We went through most of Missouri at night. We saw many canyons along the track. I stayed awake to see the Mississippi River. We crossed it about three o’clock in the morning and could hardly see it. It was so dark. We crossed the Des Moines River also. Illinois; Galesburg, Galva, Kewanee, Princeton, Coal City, Streator, crossed Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers, Limestone hills hundreds of feet high which were dug from the canal.”
Arriving in Chicago
“Joliet, Hillsdale, Oak Park, Chicago. We met Blanche at the Dearborn Station. She had been over at the Union Depot and had just come over as the train pulled in. We rode home on the elevated. In the afternoon we went to Kent Chemical Lab. where Blanche worked. It was sure hot. That afternoon I got a job in the marketing and advertising Department of the University Press on the second story. Ivy worked in the B.P.G office just below. It was awful hot for a week or two and the heat of the time it was good enough for a wool dress.
We went down town every Saturday afternoon. We went to the Art Institute, Fields Museum, Swifts, [Amours], Wilsons, parks. One Saturday we went to Dr. Jones at Willmette. We went to Michigan City about 60 miles across the lake. We could see the hills along the Ind. And Michigan shores. Michigan City is on the line between Ind & Michigan.”
To read the notes from the notebook directly click on one of the images, then scroll through the pages.