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1860’s North American Steamship Co. - Panama Railroad Ticket from San Francisco to New York.

This is a blank ticket form for passage in the 1860’s from San Francisco to New York issued by the North American Steamship Company prior to the completion of the Pacific Railroad. Under this contract the passenger is entitled to travel on the “S.S. Nebraska” from San Francisco to Panama City, then by the Panama Railroad overland to Aspinwall, and then on to New York by another N.A.S.S.Co. steamer. Prior to the completion of the Pacific Railroad in 1869, this was usually the fastest of the three methods of coast to coast travel available with the overland and Cape Horn routes often taking many months to complete. (The “Panama Route” usually took three to four weeks.)

While this was probably the “easiest” on the traveler, it was by no means a risk free trip as the North American Steamship Co. advised its passengers. The ticket, in fact, includes a warning that passage will be provided to the traveler “—the dangers of the Seas, Lakes, Rivers and Harbors, restraint of Governments, collision, detention, discomforts and ailments arising therefrom, Fire and Accidents to Machinery, Boilers and Vessel, of every kind, EXCEPTED.”

For proof of the danger of travel by the “Panama Route” one needs to look no farther than the father of the Pacific Railroad, Theodore Judah, who perished in New York on November 3, 1863, from an illness contracted on his just completed passage from San Francisco by that route. —BCC

Panama Railroad Ticket form from San Francisco to New York, 1860's

Courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.

Images courtesy of:

Panama Railroad from Aspinwall to Panama – Boston Steamer Tickets, April 21, 1856.

Two tickets (one adult, one child), dated 1856 for passage from New York to Aspinwall (although overstamped with BOSTON in red) for travel to the Aspinwall to Panama train.  They are for transit on the April 21, 1856 New York steamship only. The are embossed with an oval stamp reading:
         around the top:   Boston
         in the middle:  Agency
         around the bottom:  *********** road street  [one word undecipherable]

Panama Railroad Tickets, 1856. Courtesy  Penny Greenwich.

Courtesy Penny Greenwich Collection.

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