This is the first piece of content on this site that I didn’t really create. It’s more of a “blog post” than the other, mini-features I have created about places I have traveled on a train (and sometimes not on a train). Instead, I’m talking about photos from somebody else’s train trip.
I first found this item about a year ago. I always heard about the assassination of Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy and what it meant to people in 1968. As part of the 50th anniversary of the event, the website for The Atlantic magazine highlighted the photography of Paul Fusco, who photographed Kennedy’s funeral for LOOK Magazine. The Atlantic focused on Kennedy’s funeral train that ran from New York City to Washington D.C., along the Pennsylvania Railroad, which today is the Amtrak Northeast Corridor. These photos are part of an archive of Fusco’s work for LOOK Magazine that was transferred to the Library of Congress by Cowles Communications.
As somebody who has traveled by train between Philadelphia and NYC countless times, I find these photos very interesting. I stare at the photos of all the people who came out to mourn Kennedy, in all the places, and guess where those places are. A lot has changed in 50 years. At the same time, many places are very recognizable.
The presentation of the photos on The Atlantic’s website seems to be linear, with the first photos in northern New Jersey, and the last in Baltimore. This photo’s caption says Princeton Junction, but an experienced Northeast Corridor traveler would probably recognize it without the caption. You can see the branch to Princeton and the “dinky” train behind the crowd.
These photos are labeled as being at North Philadelphia Station in Philadelphia, but I don’t need the captions to tell me that.
This photo says Bristol, Pa. I recognize the height of the railroad embankment, the field, and the pond in the background.
The next two photos are labeled as Baltimore, and I think I recognize both locations. The bridge is near Pennsylvania Station. I feel like the field with the people standing in it is in West Baltimore.
But there are a few photos that could be anywhere along the line between Newark and Washington, D.C. These next two photos could be North Jersey, North Philadelphia, or West Baltimore. I think it’s an example of the common urban experience created by railroads like the Pennsylvania and the impact that the construction of these lines had on their surroundings.
As another example, I have no idea where this photo was taken. It shows a bunch of men, all white, standing on what looks like the rooftop of a building that is level with the railroad, so anywhere from three to six stories high. They are wearing short-sleeved, collared shirts, with a couple of white t-shirts and at least two men in lab coats. There are several tall buildings in the background, maybe even skyscrapers. On top of one of these tall buildings “Public Service” So they are in the middle of a city. It’s not New York or Philadelphia. I’m thinking it could be Newark, along the Passaic River. But I really have no idea.