Heading West- The Game Plan For The Trip
Centre was firming up its plans for the long trip to the West. The games with Arizona in San Diego on December 26, and with Texas A&M in Dallas on January 2, were the kingpins around which the trip would be mapped out. It had taken a lot of detailed planning to pull it off.
Howard King, the Southern Railroad district agent, based in Lexington, spent many days traveling between his office and Danville in working out every moment of the travel. Finally, he held a press conference and released a schedule, carefully typed out on the railroad's letterhead in bold letters.
CENTRE COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM REQUIRING ONE 14 SECTION, DRAWING ROOM, PULLMAN SLEEPING CAR, TO BE HANDLED ON CHARTERED BASIS TO SAN DIEGO AND RETURN AS FOLLOWS:
LEAVE DANVILLE, KY-SOUTHERN RAILROAD, 5:30 PM, DEC. 16
ARRIVE ST. LOUIS, MO-SOUTHERN RAILROAD, 7:10 AM, DEC. 17
LEAVE ST. LOUIS, MO- WABASH RAILROAD, 9:03 AM, DEC. 17
ARRIVE KANSAS CITY, MO-WABASH RAILROAD, 5:30 PM, DEC. 17
LEAVE KANSAS CITY, MO-UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD, 6:15 PM, DEC. 17
ARRIVE DENVER, CO-UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD, 12:50 PM, DEC. 18
LEAVE DENVER, CO-DENVER & RIO GRANDE RAILROAD, 8:15 AM, DEC. 19
ARRIVE OGDEN, UT- DENVER & RIO GRANDE RAILROAD, 1:40 PM, DEC. 20
LEAVE OGDEN, UT-SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD, 2:20 PM, DEC. 20
ARRIVE SAN FRANCISCO, CA-SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 2:30 PM, DEC, 21
( ALLOWING FOR THE 3 HOUR TIME DIFFERENTIAL, THE TRIP FROM DANVILLE TO SAN FRANCISCO WOULD HAVE TAKEN EXACTLY 5 DAYS ).
LEAVE SAN FRANCISCO, CA- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 8:00 PM, DEC. 21
ARRIVE LOS ANGELES, CA- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 8:00 AM, DEC. 22
LEAVE LOS ANGELES, CA- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 1:30 AM, DEC. 23
ARRIVE SAN DIEGO, CA- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 8:00 AM, DEC. 23
LEAVE SAN DIEGO, CA- SANTA FE RAILROAD, 12:01 AM, DEC. 27
ARRIVE LOS ANGELES, CA- SANTA FE, 6:00 AM, DEC. 27
LEAVE LOS ANGELES, CA- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 8:30 AM, DEC. 27
ARRIVE EL PASO, TX- SOUTHERN PACIFIC, 8:30 AM, DEC. 28
LEAVE EL PASO, TX- TEXAS & PACIFIC RAILROAD, 6:00 PM, DEC. 28
ARRIVE DALLAS, TX- TEXAS & PACIFIC RAILROAD, 1:10 PM, DEC. 29
LEAVE DALLAS, TX- MISSOURI, KANSAS & TEXAS RR, 8:00 PM, JAN. 2
ARRIVE ST.LOUIS, MO- MISSOURI, KANSAS & TEXAS RR, 7:55 PM, JAN. 3
LEAVE ST.LOUIS, MO- SOUTHERN RAILROAD, 9:20 PM, JAN. 3
ARRIVE DANVILLE, KY- SOUTHERN RAILROAD, 10:55 AM, JAN. 4
( SIGNIFICANT STOP-OVERS IN ST. LOUIS, DENVER, SAN FRANCISCO, LOS ANGELES, SAN DIEGO, EL PASO, DALLAS, AND, ON THE RETURN, ST. LOUIS.)
THE CHARTERED PULLMAN WILL GO OVER THE TRACKS OF 8 LINES.
(1) SOUTHERN RAILROAD
(2) WABASH RAILROAD
(3) UNION PACIFIC
(4) DENVER AND RIO GRANDE
(5) SOUTHERN PACIFIC
(6) SANTA FE- (ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND SANTA FE)
(7) TEXAS AND PACIFIC
(8) MISSOURI, KANSAS AND TEXAS ( The "KATY" )
King stated at the conference that he had been meeting with representatives of all the 8 railroads to make the trip as smooth and enjoyable as it could possibly be.
We need to understand in a little more detail exactly what the logistics of the venture were to entail.
The Southern would provide a private Pullman which would be the Colonels' traveling hotel, a "home on wheels," for the entire duration. Centre would pay a flat fee for the car, and the railroad would in turn pay the Pullman Company, the actual owner of the sleeper. It didn't matter which railroad's tracks were to be the "road," the Pullman would simply be hooked onto another regularly scheduled passenger train of the line which owned the tracks. The Pullman Company also provided a porter, part of the rental arrangement. The same porter accompanied the team on the entire trip, and the individual assigned to the car was the same gentleman who accompanied the team on their 1921 trips to Boston to play Harvard and to New Orleans for the Tulane game.
The Colonels would have the full use of any train onto which they were hooked. If they wanted to use the observation car, or sit in a day coach, if such were part of the consist, they were free to do so. Their baggage would be transferred to the baggage car of their present conveyance, and they would take their meals in the dining car of the train onto which they were connected.
The arrangement was that Centre's Pullman would be connected as the last car on any of the trains whenever possible. That way, they truly had a "private" car, as the rest of the passengers could walk back and forth on the train, but wouldn't need to use the Colonels' car as a "pathway."
Each night, the porter would convert the seats into beds, there being 2 beds, an upper and lower, in each of the 14 "sections." The next morning, while the team had breakfast, he would convert the beds back into seats for the daytime travel.
The Pullman had a drawing room, and there were toilets and basins on the ends of the cars, one each for males and females. Of course, since there were all males on the trip to the West, both facilities could be used.
Travel in this era meant that often hotels were part of the train stations in various cities, especially in the larger terminals. Passengers would often stay over and "freshen up" en route. The Centre entourage had several daytime layovers and outings scheduled to break up the trip, but there were no plans to stay overnight at the terminal hotels. Rather, the one en route overnight layover planned was in Denver and would find the Colonels being housed at the Denver Athletic Club in that city.
The itinerary for the team was to go from Danville to Lexington, then to Louisville and continue west to St. Louis.
From St. Louis, they would head due west through Kansas City and over the Great Plains to Denver, and then wind slowly up and over the Rockies, descend to Salt Lake City, head north to Ogden, Utah, and then go southwest to San Francisco after crossing the Great Salt Lake.
From San Francisco, they would go down to Los Angeles, then to San Diego. After the "Christmas Bowl," they'd go back to LA, and then go southeast to Fort Worth and Dallas. The reason for the return from San Diego back to LA was that there was no direct San Diego to Dallas route but rather it was necessary to travel back to LA and then to Dallas.
After the January 2 game in Dallas, there was to be a return to St. Louis, and from there, the journey would retrace the route on the same tracks that had carried the team's Pullman from Danville to St. Louis.
A map showing exactly where the Colonels would travel
The trip would take 20 days! It was to certainly be the most memorable adventure in which any of the participants had ever been involved. The Chief and everyone who had been part of the planning had as their constant goal that the undertaking be "first class," that it be "fun," and that it should always be understood that the whole endeavor was to reward the team for, as had been expressed at the team banquet, "a job well done."
Danville was euphoric, as was much of Kentucky. Just a few short years ago, the little town had basked in the knowledge that it hosted a respected center of learning, and took pride in the fact that the young men who had spent some years there had achieved prominence across the country.
Reporters came to Danville from all over the country to see exactly what was going on.
Traveling through Arizona and New Mexico?
People in Danville and throughout Kentucky started getting out their maps.
Arizona and New Mexico had only become states not quite 10 years earlier, joining the union in 1912. The University of Arizona, the Christmas Bowl opponent, had been founded in Tucson in 1885, but it was 6 years later when the first classes were held.
Tucson? Where was that? It was spotted on the map as being in the south part of Arizona, not far, 40 miles, from… Mexico!
If someone had an older map, one printed 10 years or more before, Arizona was shown as, "Arizona Territory."
"Goodness, are there still wild Indians out there? Will our boys be safe?"
Old-timers could still remember "Custer's Last Stand" and the "Battle of Little Bighorn" which took place in June of 1876, now but 45 years in the past.
In the 1920 census, Arizona had a population of 334,162, but the state, with 114,006 square miles, had a population density of only 2.9 per square mile, so that each man, woman or child could have had slightly less than 225 acres of land if it had been divided up proportionally.
Tucson had slightly over 20,000 residents.
During the school year, 1921-22, the University of Arizona had an enrollment of 1369 students and 107 faculty members on a campus of 41 acres, on which sat 21 buildings.
The "Wildcat" was adopted as the school mascot in 1915.