Road Trip 1929: Day 9: Elgin, Illinois

I hope you didn’t miss me too much over my blogging vacation, but Three Months By Car is back! Since I made you wait a while between my last post and now, I wanted to share a transcription with all of you. It’s the first letter that Dotty mailed home.

5 Elgin2

5 Elgin3

Sept 9, 1929

Dear Everybody:

            Here’s a letter for a change! Today we left Chicago, but have not made much progress. We have stopped three times to see Edie’s relatives, + are staying tonite at the home of friends of her mother’s. They are all very nice + hospitable people, + we have done nothing all day but eat + drink coffee – about 5 cups of it! We are staying tonight in Elgin, Ill., where the watches come from. Edie has had to stop + visit everybody because she has never seen any relatives before, except the aunt + cousin in Chicago! We have heard so much about what we will see in the west that we are all excited. We have got to hurry now to get to Yellowstone, so tomorrow we are getting up early + are going to make about 300 miles. The country won’t be interesting until we get to the Black Hills of Dakota, anyway. We are sure going to speed to get there.

            Yesterday we spent the day on the shore of Lake Michigan in the sand dunes, + went swimming. The waves were bigger than those in the ocean, way over our heads. We liked Chicago immensely – it is a very beautiful city, with lovely nooks + lots of trees + grass. I would not mind staying there. You must make a trip west some time + see Chicago.

            Out here instead of hot dog stands they have “barbeque” stands – roast meats on rolls with sauce, + they are sure good. They also have Jumbo ice cream cones for 15¢, with 4 kinds of ice cream!

            We have all been very well. We feel better than usual when we are out in the open air. This is certainly the best way to travel. We have everything we could possibly want with us.

            Guess this will be all for now. From now on we’ve got to make time, until after Yellowstone!

Lots of love to all,


P.S.     I left my bathing suit behind at Edie’s, the only thing we forgot, but Edie’s aunt loaned me hers before the trip.


This is one of my favorite letters.  From a research standpoint, it tells me where they stayed, what they did, their feelings, and the prices of things. Personally, I like it because I think it a wonderful snapshot of who Dotty (and this letter shows she sometimes signed off as Dottie) was at the time.  It’s nice to see what gets her excited (5 cups of coffee and Jumbo ice cream cones) and you get an idea of what she was really looking forward to on the trip (Yellowstone).

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2 Responses to Road Trip 1929: Day 9: Elgin, Illinois

  1. I’ve been wanting to visit Yellowstone again. I hope you have a record of Dotty’s visit there – it will be interesting to compare to the park today.

  2. Helena says:

    It`s so strange to read a letter since 1929, it`s hard to imagine how things were back then. Please post more if you have, it is very interesting imagine 3 months from the life of another person especially if this person actions were far in the past

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