Fun_People Archive
16 Nov
Look Yonder Coming -- The Orange Blossom Special

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 100 10:27:06 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Look Yonder Coming -- The Orange Blossom Special

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Forwarded-by: Richard Spottswood <>
Subject: message for Dick Spottswood


Your show last Saturday night was world-class, as always.  You played an
early version of the "Orange Blossom Special" that was excellent.

This was particularly appropriate, as this month marks the 75th anniversary
of the inauguration of the train.  The Orange Blossom Special, which first
ran on November 21, 1925, was a passenger train--an all-Pullman (luxury
sleeping-car), extra-fare train--that took wealthy society people from
fabled Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan to the posh resorts along the east
coast of Florida.  The Pennsylvania Railroad took the train as far as
Washington Union Station.  From there, the Richmond, Fredericksburg, &
Potomac took it to Richmond Union Station, at which point the locomotives of
the Seaboard Air Line Railroad rushed the train to the resorts in Florida.
The Seaboard's slogan was "Through the Heart of the South."  The "air line"
in its name is a 19th century surveyor's term for the most direct route, but
when Lindy flew the Atlantic, the Seaboard's stock jumped on Wall Street
because some folks thought it was an airline.

The publicity given the train when it started was enormous, and the
railroads were, at the time, powerfully symbolic of speed, power, and
wealth.  The Special was widely considered a jewel of the South, and it's
not surprising that a song was written about it.  In time, inroads by new
airlines into the Florida business had cut rail traffic to the point that
the extra-fare Orange Blossom Special was discontinued in favor of less
prestigious trains.  The 1963 Official Guide to Railroads does not have a
listing for the Special.  It appears the Orange Blossom Special lived and
died contemporaneously with the hillbilly music that celebrated it.

Your long-time fan
Harry Rado

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