Phoebe Snow (continued)

You see I always wore a white dress and it was very important that when I arrived at my destination, I was presentable. I don't need to tell you how stuffy passenger trains were back in 1900. Remember, this was before air conditioning. So we had to rely on opening the windows and letting in the outside air for any kind of ventilation to happen. Can you guess what happened once you opened the window? That's right. Smoke would come in making you dirty. Then there was always the chance of getting burned by the cinders that came flying by, in the window and right to where you were sitting.

The Lackawanna had great success with this new coal and I supported them 100%. All of the other Railroads were dirty and filthy in comparison. I was fortunate to be able to ride on the DL&W trains. And was more than happy to share my great train travel experiences with everyone.

*Says Phoebe Snow about to go
Upon a trip to Buffalo
My gown stays white from morn to night
Upon the road of Anthracite

Soon the public began to call me the "Maiden in White". Not too long after it was requested that I make personal appearances across the entire DL&W route. Sometimes, the crowds were in the thousands. Can you imagine thousands of people coming out to see me? I was just a young girl who was speaking her mind about the benefits of Anthracite.

This went on for about 3 or 4 years. Touring around the railroad routes, having my picture taken and having rhymes made up about my thoughts and travels. It was sure something and I loved it. People were listening to me. Women actually started dressing like me and changing their hairstyles. Some companies began making and selling exact copies of my hats, purses and dresses. I was influencing the fashion world.

But, with all the touring I began to get tired so I took an early retirement in 1907. I still had plenty left to say and the DL&W continued to quote me in rhyme. They even utilized me for openings and inaugurations.

Though quite often they wrote versus about the cleanly "Road of Anthracite", they also quoted me on what I had to say about the dining service on the trains.

*Says Phoebe Snow,
Now that I see
How spotlessly
Your kitchen's kept
It seems to me
It gives one quite
An appetite
This cleanly Road of Anthracite.

I was there in Spirit to report on many of the changes along the DL&W. Verses were written about the rebuilding of stations and terminals. About porters helping me. About interlocking towers and switching techniques. And of course when electric lighting was brought on to passenger trains, they rhymed some more about me reading my book all night…by the light. All of this lasted until 1914, then WWI broke out. Hard coal was now needed for use in the steel mills and no longer made available for the railroads. So, I decided it was time to take a break and retired as the DL&W representative.

A funny thing happened as time passed. I began to miss all the stories of my thoughts on travel aboard the DL&W. So, after 40 years of retirement I made a comeback at the beginning of WWII. No longer was I wearing white gloves and gowns. This time I wore an American WWII Uniform. At the end of WWII it was time for another rest. And I awaited my next resurrection, which was in 1949. And believe you me, I was not disappointed. I received the greatest honor that can be bestowed unto a railroader. A train, but not just any train. This was the latest and greatest, sleekest lightweight streamliner of its time. And it was named "The Phoebe Snow". My train traveled nearly 17 years along the DL&W lines.

Now, 50 years later, I still have a following. Fans across the world. Who knows, maybe someday they'll call my agent and bring me back.


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