March 25, 2009

Hiawatha trains and logo

Correspondent DMarks has posted this item on his Throwaway Blog:

"Twilight" DVD ReleaseThe "Hiawatha" trains of the Milwaukee Road had the logo seen to the right (image from Wikipedia). In the Milwaukee Road, "there were actually four routes carrying the Hiawatha name, Chicago-Minneapolis; Chicago-Omaha; Chicago-Wausau-Minocqua; and Chicago-Minneapolis-Seattle." A modern-day Amtrak route still bears the Hiawatha name.

The Hiawatha logo would appear to be a cross between a rendition of the Roman god Mercury and a Native American with a streamlined-back version of a Plains-style feather headdress (see this image of a Pontiac car Indian-head hood ornament for an example of something similar).
Comment:  Hiawatha used to be the most famous Indian in America, I think. I presume the trains were named after him because of his popularity, since I don't see any other connection.


dmarks said...

The area around the eastern end of the Hiawatha lines had places with Hiawatha-associated names or nicknames. This could be another reason that the name was chosen for the Milwaukee Road's Hiawatha lines. Other than the actual fleet-footed logo figure, I do not recall seeing anything Indian-related in the old advertising literature for the railroad.

The official webpage for Amtrak's remaining Hiawatha line,, does not use any form of the logo.

Anonymous said...

Attn: dmarks -

Have you ever seen "The Thing," outside of Tucson, AZ, heading east towards New Mexico?

Once you see it - AND REALIZE WHAT IT IS - it will break your heart!


Rob said...

Apparently The Thing is a kitschy "museum," gift shop, and tourist trap. For more information, see:

Melvin Martin said...

"The Thing"

What I saw there in April of 1994 on my way to New Mexico was the mummified remains of an Indian woman dressed in what was obviously her tribal regalia lying on her back with a smaller mummy on her upper abdomen - so, "The Thing" is the remains of an Indian woman of childbearing age who most likely died in childbirth along with her baby.

And she is still on display there for the enjoyment of tourists and travelers where the exhibit's owners charge a few bucks for all to see "The Thing."

I have often thought of "The Thing" over the years and have wondered what she was like:

Was she young and beautiful?

Was she someone of stature in her tribe, perhaps the daughter of a chief?

Did she have a life with thoughts and feelings like any other woman and a love for her family and for her people?

After my girlfriend gave birth to our daughter in 2006, I thought that, in a peculiar way known only to myself, that I have in a certain sense replaced the mother and the child that perished so long ago in the American Southwest.