Here's an interesting contribution to the RITS web site from Elbert Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Elbert has sent, and Jeff Prince (email@example.com) has scanned, the 1882 sheet music to the song "The Great Rock Island Route!!", by J.A. Foff.
Text and lyrics are printed below. To see the pages, click on these links:
1882 DEDICATED TO THE Genl. Ticket and Passenger Agent "The Great Rock Island Route!!" Song and Chorus Words and Music by J. A. Roff. (Cover has drawings of a snow-covered mountain, "APPROACH TO THE SIERRAS", and the "PASSENGER DEPOT, GREAT ROCK ISLAND ROUTE, CHICAGO" (Inside of cover has map of the Great Rock Island Route.) 1. From a rocky bound Atlantic, to a mild Pacific shore, From a fair and sunny southland to an ice-bound Labrador, There's a name of magic import and 'tis known the world throughout, 'Tis a mighty corporation, called the great Rock Island Route. Chorus: Now listen to the jingle, and the rumble, and the roar, As she dashes thro' the woodland, and speeds along the shore, See the mighty rushing engine, hear her merry bell ring out, As they speed along in safety, on the "Great Rock Island Route." 2. All great cities of importance can be found along its way, There's Chicago and Peoria and Rock Island so they say, With Davenport, and westward still is Council Bluffs far out. As a western termination of this Great Rock Island Route. 3. To the great southwest another, and a mighty line they run, Reaching far famed Kansas City, Leavenworth and Atchison, Rich in beauty, power, and grandeur, and they owe it all no doubt, To the fact that they are stations, on the Great Rock Island Route 4. There's the "Northern Route," a daisy as you all can plainly see To St. Paul, and Minneapolis, 'tis the famous "Albert Lea," To the lakes of Minnesota, and all points there 'round about Reached directly by no other, than the "Great Rock Island Route." 5. Now let music soft and tender, in its mystic power reveal, Praises to the "Great Rock Island," that the heart can only feel: And to swell the mighty chorus--comes the glad re-echoing shout, That for safety, time and comfort, take the "Great Rock Island Route.
The Great Rock Island Route by J. A. Roff Have you ever heard it rumored, As you journeyed to the West, Of the many mighty railroads, Which was greatest and the best? The public long have said it, And 'tis true, beyond a doubt, That for safety, time and comfort Take the "Great Rock Island Route". Chorus -- Only listen to the jingle, and the rumble, and the roar, As she dashes through woodland and skims along the shore! See the mighty, rushing engine -- hear the merry bell ring out, As they speed along in safety, on the "Great Rock Island Route"! In her crowded palace coaches All is happiness and joy, From the father and the mother To the little girl and boy; And a sweet look of contentment From every face shines out -- For the people all are happy On the "Great Rock Island Route". Chorus Through darkest hour of midnight Hear the rumble and the roar, As she glides like bird of spring time Past the humble cottage door; On, on into the darkness, With headlight streaming out For the safety of the people On the "Great Rock Island Route". Chorus Through prairies, rich and fertile With cities covered o'er; On, through broad hills and valleys, to the great Missouri's shore. Her name's in every household; 'Tis known the world throughout, So procure at once your tickets By the "Great Rock Island Route". Chorus