Written for the Portland Transcript.
FEOM ST. LOUIS TO SALT LAKE!
SALT LAKE CITY, May 20th, 1871. EDITORS TRANSCRIPT.—The ride from St. Louis to Kansas City is not through a very picturesque country. We see some-thing of the muddy Missouri river, and notice that same appearance in all the riv-ers of the West, especially west of the Mis-sissippi, the water all taking the color and carrying along a good tie al of the rich black soil. We find Kansas City one of the smart-est of western places, but its blast has been blown all over the East beyond the reality, as have many places "out West." These western cities come at you something in the style the old Indians used to out on the plains, when they came around to beg,—swelling up to their biggest capacity—"Me Indian, big— big Indian—big Chief." They always give you an exaggerated idea of their importance. We have heard of an immense depot at this place, covering seven acres—biggest thing in the country. It only exists on paper. Portland could do as well as that. The boast of many western places has no better foundation. Others that do more say less, like Bloomington, Ill., that has, in eight or ten years, doubled its population, built a four-hundred thousand dollar court house, with the best State normal school and home for soldiers' orphans in the country, brought in three or four new lines of railroads, all of which is scarcely heard of down East. Let Eastern people beware of those places that are written up to such an extent out West.
The buildings in the business part of Kan-sas City are mostly of brick, none others are built now, and this gives it a substan-tial look for so new a place. I spent the Sabbath here. In the morning I noticed markets open and some stores. A pro-cession of little German boys and girls marched out of town on a picnic excur-sion. They were neatly dressed, and car-ried little American flags. Larger people were following them. In the afternoon I found them in a grove just over the line, in Kansas, having a lively time. Beer was the chief drink; dancing and plays, Co-penhagen, &c., for amusement.
Lawrence, for its historical interest, is worth seeing. A ride of thirty-eight miles, and we get off to wait till the night train. This is a thriving place; property has not been run up to a very high figure, and the city is holding its own through all the depression which generally exists in most places. Here they say Kansas City is "played out," and that roads that are building through their town will! I cut off much of its trade. One important | line runs to Galveston, Texas. Kansas is taking more immigrants than any other section. Leaving Lawrence at midnight, by sunrise we are fairly out on the big, rolling prairies, and pass Manhattan, a pretty, growing town. I passed through here in 1859. Our route was the same as that of the railroad. First-class dwellings | are now seen where then was only the lit-tle squatter's cabin.
Fort Riley is seventeen miles further on. Limestone, for building, abounds along here. The air is very clear and pure. Now we pass beyond the rolling prairies, and are out on the vast level plains, and the ride becomes monotonous. All day long we ride at railroad speed over this boundless plain, not seeming to came any nearer to where sky and plain I meet ahead of us, or any further from | such a point ill our rear. It seems like one vast dome of sky, shutting down on | a completely level earth, with nothing to mar the picture (or make it.) We met but one herd of buffaloes. That covered and thinly scattered over an im-mense space, variously estimated at ten to fifteen miles long by two or three wide. They were feeding as quietly as a herd of tame cattle, about a quarter of a mile from the track. Some that were nearer the cars would lope off to the main body and then turn and look at us. Oth-ers would paw the dust and shake their shaggy heads in defiance at us.
Night shut down on us and no sight of any distant peaks or mountains. Next morning they lay stretched out before us partly enveloped in a mist or cloud, which the sun soon dispersed, and as we ap-proach Denver we get an unobscured view of them as far as the eye can reach, North and South, a sight worth a long journey to see.
Pike's Peak a long way to the south, Long's Peak at the north, and in the in-tervening space rise peaks and mountains of every conceivable shape, shade and size some solid banks of snow, others black or green with a thick growth of timber, while others show nothing but rocks and shrubs, and as they come down to the plain are foot hills, smooth and covered with grass. Denver is fifteen miles from the moun-tains, but it doesn't look over seven, in the rarefied atmosphere. It is quite a sub-stantial city, its business houses of brick, and dwellings mostly small wooden struct-ures. The place has been overrated, and lots are held at a fancy price. Three busi-ness lots sold at $7,000 each, a few weeks since. This in a city claiming 12,000—and having as I was told 7000 to 9000 peo-ple. Railroads are projected that will add greatly to the business of the city. Business, they say, is dull, and this seems to be the rule all over the West. Much is claimed tor Colorado as a place to heal the sick. There are some exceptions, consumptives too far gone are hurried to their graves. Those not so low are gen-erally benefitted or cured apparently. Asthma, they all say, is cured every time.
I was curious to see how they go to work to make a town "to order," and got off at the colonizing town of Greeley, to make some inquiries. The land looks dry and barren, but will bear crops with irri-gation, and they have selected well for that. There are 1500 people here all busy getting ready to live, and they claim suc-cess as an accomplished fact, although they have not yet had time to get any re-turn for their labor. In answer to my question "how have you made any mon-ey." They said by the rise of real estate. So far it is a town of quite small houses many of them only boxes or sheds with I stove pipes coming out of the roof. They get their wood and timber from the moun-tains, 20 or 30 miles distant. The town is one year old and seems to be well man-aged.
The ride from Denver to Cheyenne 110 miles is one continuous panorama of mountains, and we never tire of looking as it unrolls before us, the view continually changing. At Cheyenne we take the Union Pacific and are soon mounting to the summit at Sherman 33 miles, rising in that distance from an altitude of 6041 feet at Cheyenne to 8212 feet at Sherman—the highest on the route, but not reached by very steep grades or precipitous passes such as we find farther on. At Laramie, 24 miles from Sherman, 7123 feet altitude, we find quite a lively town of 1200 people. Much stock is raised here which lives well on the rich grass of the mountains. They told, me they raised good crops by hurrying them in and hurrying them out. There are three or four hotels there.
We pass through a dreary waste of sage brush for hundreds of miles and it becomes tedious. The country is neither moun-tains or plains, but a mixture, and is worn down as we go west to a deep valley, a natural pass for a railroad. We are at the bottom of the valley and look up for our scenery, and as we go through the last | hundred miles before reaching Ogden are all bobbing about from one side of the cars to the other—like a school of porpois-es—stretching our necks out of the cars to get a glimpse at passing wonders. Salt Lake Valley is a pleasant surprise, and we look with wondering gaze for the Lake. At Ogden most of our passengers go on to the Central Pacific cars for California. I get aboard the Utah Central and come down amongst the Mormons. B.
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