William Benitz & Eileen Frend Page last modified:

Willie & Eileen Benitz
— Trip to the US & Canada —
June - August, 1935

Arrival NY City – 13 June, 1935

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Willie, Eileen, Corina, & Malcolm

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Uncle Alfred & Auntie Olga

This is Willie’s account of a 3-month trip he and family took to the US and Canada, June through August, 1935.  The account is sparse on dates and who accompanied him.  Group members included: Willie, Eileen, Corina, Malcolm, Willie’s Uncle Alfred, and Auntie Olga.  According to Corina, she was taken along in an attempt to cool her love for Keith Pryor – it failed, they were married within a year.

Willie met up with friends from his boyhood in Winona (Minnesota), his fraternity brothers from college (U. of Illinois), and numerous distant and not so distant relatives.  Far too many to list here.  He and Alfred visited experimantal farms and several breeders of milking shorthorns (cattle).

Malcolm stayed in Illinois when the group continued west.  At times, the group separated to pursue different interests; for example, Willie & Uncle Alfred, on more than one occassion, visited cattle breeders on their own.  Willie does not always make clear who did what.

Important stops on the trip included: Rio de Janeiro, New York city, Washington DC, Univ. of Illinois (Champaign, IL, where Malcolm was put in school), Chicago, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Oakland, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Fort Ross, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Banff, then back to Chicago & New York.

Pages on The Benitz Bull with supporting information include:

——— Original typed account ———

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Click to view PDF file (1.6 MB)
(Source: Charles A. Benitz)

——— Transcribed ———
(searchable)

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It may interest you to hear about our trip to the States. We had a very pleasant voyage on the Northern Prince. Captain Reed, the first officer, chief engineer, & the purser helped our congenial small crowd of about forty passengers (of whom colonel Jones of Nova Scotia needs special mention as an entertainer) to have a good time. Our stay at Santos was made pleasant by a trip which Colonel Jones gave us by car to the new light and power station. We were then driven up the Mountain Road connecting Santos with San Paulo, to the Company’s Guest House where we were given tea and other refreshments. Later we were taken in launches across the artificial lake which has been made by flooding some of the valleys. This is twenty miles long, and the dam at the end of it is about 2,000 feet above the Santos power station, so there should be no lack of water power. We returned by car through San Paulo to Santos. At Rio we saw Katie and Stanley, also Corina and Bryan Niel NEALE, lunched at the Gavea Club and dined at the Copacabana Hotel and afterwards contributed thousands of Reis to the roulette tables. Eight days from Rio to Trinidad went quickly with deck games, tennis, quoits, golf, putting, and the swimming pool, bedou and the consequent cocktail parties, bridge and dancing. We had a very pleasant day at Port of Spain, Trinidad, with a long motor trip into the country which has wonderful tropical vegitation, flowers, and particularly the trees, cocoa, nutmegs, breadfruit, rubber, coffee, paw-paw, mangoes, enormous bamboos, and magnificent Samaan trees. In the botanical gardens we saw trees from all parts of the world, and a large variety of orchids. We arrived in New York on June 13th., and were met at the docks by Mr. Lilley who started our wonderful time in the States by his warm welcome and generous entertainment, both in New York and at his home in Brooklyn. Mrs. Lilley, Wilfred, Helen and Robert also helped to give us a good time.

We stayed eight days in New York at the Plaza Hotel in great luxury, saw all we could in the time, Radio City and its music-hall, the most wonderful of its kind, organ recitals, the best of orchestras, pictures of news of the world, stage variety shows, and the first technicolour film "Becky Sharpe". From our bedroom window we could see some of the skyscrapers, such as the Rockefeller and the Empire State of 118 135 stories.

Everything about New York is very impressive and the crowds of people interesting, particularly on the elevated and subway trains to and from the down-town business Wall Street section, and our hotel at 59th. Street 5th. Avenue, and the beginning of Central Park.


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Street traffic is very well regulated, not only in New York, but all over the country by automatic "stop and go" lights, and the efficiency of Americans is very marked in everything one encounters.

We saw a baseball game between the N.Y. Giants and Cincinatti; a Polo match on Governor’s Island between the Yale and Harvard teams, who promise well to reach high goal standards, particularly Dominick and Gerry. We also went out to Long Island to see polo at Meadow-brook through Nora and Lewis's friend, Mrs. Hastings, who was very kind and hospitable to us. We lunched with her at her country house at Old Westbury, and found both her and her niece, Jessie Mann, very charming. Mrs. Hastings introduced us to Mr. Stoddard, Mr. McCarthy, RDev. Milburn Rathborne, and Mr. Russell Grace. We went to tea with the Grace’s, and enjoyed seeing their beautiful home with its lovely grounds. Also their stables, polo ponies, enclosed tennis court, and ball—room. Uncle Alfred and I went to Washingtonville to see some cattle, and spent the night with Mr. Tener the owner, which was most enjoyable, as was the drive through beautiful country. Our first experience of an airconditioned train was from New York to Washington, on a hot day, and it was a great comfort. We also found an observation car at the end of the train, supplied with bar radio music and illustrated papers, which applies to all the trains we travelled on throughout some eight thousand miles. On arriving that evening in Washington we were met by my cousin Harriet, who insisted that we should all stay at her house in Chevy Chase. There we met her two daughters, Francis and Elizabeth, and later Marcellersus Shield, their chief and my old Winona friend, who, for many years has been secretary to the Government committee on appropriations.

We also met Glen Morgan at their house, and I soon found my very good friend and fraternity brother George Ward, also John Bailey, one time American Consul in Rosario.

While in Washington, Harriet showed us all the sights, among them was the Washington Monument, the Obelisk, Mount Vernon, Arlington, Lincoln Memorial, Pan American Building, the Capitol. We saw both Congress and the Senate in Session, and in the latter heard the notorious Huey Long speaking. Went to the Government dairy experimental farm at Beltsville, and saw some very good milking shorthorns. We had a most enjoyable visit with the Shields and friends who entertained us. We left for Chicago on the 26th. June and had a very pleasant seventeen hour journey, and went to the Edgewater Beach Hotel, which is on Lake Michigan, half an hour’s drive out from the busy section of Chicago. We left the same evening for Champaign, where the University of Illinois is, and saw Dean Mumford, who is head of the College of Agriculture,


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next morning, with the object of getting Malcolm in to the college. Dean Mumford spent the whole day with us, and showed us all over the University and experimental farm. We were greatly impressed by the University Stadium which seats 65,000. This was built by the students and alumni to commemorate those killed in the war. One of the columns had Frankie’s name, we were also shown a tree which had been planted in his memory. While in Dean Mumford’s office we were introduced to a number of the college professors, and one whom I discovered to be a reporter, after I had unknowingly committed myself, which appeared to amuse everybody but myself! Mrs. Mumford entertained Eileen and Corina. Dean Mumford very kindly suggested that Malcolm should start right away as an observer on the farm, so we found board and lodging for him. We left the following day in Jimps Alexander’s car, which he had sent from his country house at Lake Forest to fetch us. We had a three and a half hour’s drive through farming country, chiefly corn, and very similar to the Argentine.

Alexander, like Ward, was one of my class mates and fraternity brother at Illinois, and has been a successful banker, now retired, and amusing himself farming, and owns no less than six large farms in Town Iowa, and manages the Insull properties near Chicago. We spent the week—end with the Alexanders, Wynnie and daughter Betty, and met a number of their friends, amongst them Tom Wilson of the frigorifico, who showed us his very fine herd of Shorthorn cattle. Alexander drove Malcolm and me to Delaven in Wisconsin to see Borgs' milk, shorthorn herd, which was as good as I have seen either in England ot [sic] the States. Also went to the Florsheim's (shoe people) and saw their Kentucky gaited horses, which breed of horses I had always been anxious to see.

On returning to Chicago we went to the stock yards, and saw some of the cattle, typical of those sold there, which, in the Argentine, would be turned down by the frigorifico. These were selling at 10 to 11 cents a pound, while our best only fetch 2½ cents. Called on Mr. Harding, secretary for many years of the Shorthorn Society.

We left Chicago on July 3rd., and had two full days' travelling to Yellonwstone Park, where we spent five days, motoring from Victor to Jackson Hole and Jenny Lake over Teton Pass, through pine forests and gorgeous scenery. Spent our first night in a log cabin at Jackson Lake Lodge, and from there on to Yellonwstone Lake, and saw the fish hatcheries, and fish being taken out of the lake as fast as lines could be cast. Saw the mud volcano and Dragon's Mouth on our way to Yellonwtone Canyon. The latter is wonderful, a deep canyon with brightly coloured walls, two waterfalls, one of over 300 ft. fall. Saw Elk in the woods, and bears all over the place.


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From Canyon we went to Mammouth Hot Springs over Dunraven Pass, past Tower Falls, saw petrified trees and Norris Geyser Basin and on to Old Faithful, where we saw a number of hot springs and geysers in erruption. We left on the 9th. arriving at Salt Lake City next morning, where we spent three hours sight seeing the Mormons' Temple and Tabernacle. Went on to Las Vegas and spent the night there in an air-conditioned hotel, which was appreciated on account of the heat. Next morning we drove to Boulder Dam on the Colorado River. The water which will soon be dammed up will have a circumference of 550 miles and a depth of 600 feet, the power station will produce 1,875,000 horse power. That afternoon we travelled to Los Angeles and went to the Biltmore and found Carmelita and Arthur Piper waiting for us. They had motored down from Piedmont. The following day we met Carmelita's brother Charlie Woerner and his daughter Lorraine, who all drove us out and about Hollywood Beverley Hills and the beaches. The Pipers motored us all over California to Riverside, where we lunched at the old Mission Inn, and then went to see Mr. & Mrs. Dammers, found him irrigating his orange grove, helmet and shorts on, and, as of old, pipe in his mouth, looking as cheery as when we knew him twenty five years ago. He told us a little of his bug and butterfly research work, at which he is considered an authority.

The country we went through had wonderful avenues of palm trees, eucalyptus, pepper trees, silvery oaks, ceders, pines, etc., and flowers of all descriptions, orange groves, walnut groves everywhere. Drove down to Agnua Calieirnte in Mexico and played roulette that night with little success. On the return journey we stopped at the San Diego Fair, a lovely setting in the park of trees and flowers. The Ford exhibit and the Robot mechanical man were very good. The Robot answered certain questions in a speaking voice, sat or stood up as ordered, moved his limbs and head, and even fired off a revolver by no other means than the command of voice used by one of the public.

Stopped at the San Juan Capistrano Mission, and on to Covina where we all dined with the Reynolds, and other friends of the Pipers. I must emphasize the hospitality we received, not only from our friends, but also from their friends everywhere we went in the States.

In Los Angeles I had great pleasure in meeting my old friend Arthur McKelvie and his family. The Woerners took us to Hollywood Bowl to hear the symphony orchestra. A marvellous sight of this natural open—air bowl, set inside the hills, with a seating capacity of 25,000: the orchestra was composed of at least sixty pieces, and hearing was perfect in all parts of the open theatre. The Pipers drove us along the


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coast to Santa Barbara and then to Del Monte near Monterey where we spent a night. A marvellous hotel and grounds, and a large open-air salt water bathing pool which we enjoyed in the early morning; did the famous seventeen mile drive and went on to Salinas where we stopped at my insistance to see a Rodeo.

A Rodeo is organized to give competitions in bronco buck jumping, bull bare back riding, all of these animals bad buckers, steer roping and bull dogging. The latter is done by a cow-boy riding up to a steer at full speed and throwing himself off his horse, grabbing the steer by the horns and pulling a rubber band with flowing ribbons over its nose: some years ago it was customary to throw the steer by the hand and hold him down, but for some reason this was stopped.

There were over six hundred people on horseback in the Rodeo parade, quite a sight, and some very fine horses and equipment, to say nothing of the picturesque cowboys and girls. We went on to Piedmont adjoining Oakland to stay at the Piper’s lovely home, which is well equipped with nothing less than a regular American bar in the cellar, swing door, bar table with brass foot rail, large looking glass, and bottles of all drinks we could find in all the best of places pub crawlers go to. I saw that bar many times, in fact Arthur's liquid hospitality did not stop there, for like magic a bottle would appear from a secret pocket in either of his two large Lincoln cars, or from a cupboard in the garage, or, in fact, any room in his house. This was evidently a great social asset during prohibition. While in Piedmont we met and were entertained by a host of the Pipers' friends. We motored across Livermore valley, over Altamont Pass into San Juagquin Valley, and into the Yoseinmite Park, saw the Signviasquoias, largest trees in the world, one we saw 259 ft. high and 34 ft. in diameter. Went on to Glacier Point where we got a magnificent view of the surrounding country, snow-capped peaks of mountains, and a sheer drop of 3,000 ft. to the valley below our look-out point.

We stayed the night at AlmalinceAnwahnee and left next morning over Tioga Pass at an elevation of over 9,000 ft. to Lake Tahoe, magnificent mountains and forest scenery with all kinds of wild flowers. On our way back to Piedmont we stopped at Mr. Rowe’s herd of milking shorthorn cattle near Davis, and then on through Sacramento. From Piedmont we went across to San Francisco and stayed at the St. Francis Hotel, and were entertained by more of the Woerner family. Gus, Henry and David, also Elizabeth and Mr. Mueh. I also met on old Winona boyhood friend, Randolph Smith, and another college friend Ernest Ingold and his family, with whom we had parties. We met Juan Reynal and his wife, who gave us lunch at the Palace Hotel, where we met McCarthy and


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other polo players who were going to Honolulu. The Reynals drove us over the Sky Line Boulevard and back through San Mateo, where we saw the polo club and Howard's stables.

The Pipers drove us all to Fort Ross, which was of great interest to us all, particularly to Uncle Alfred revisiting the scene of his boyhood. On July 28th we left from Oakland by train for Portland, and were met on arrival there next day by more of the Woerner family, Louie and Bill, and while there were entertained by their families. We went through a paper mill, seeing huge logs of Spruce pulled out of the river and reduced to pulp, and all of the operations, to the finished rolls of paper. (All sizes!) Another very interesting sight was the Woerner's barrel factory, where the same took place, starting with the big logs to the finished article of all kinds and sizes of barrels. The Woerners' mother was a Benitz, who was a cousin of Uncle Alfred.

From Portland we went to Seattle, where we found Margaret Avory, who had come from Spokane to see us. I spent the following day visiting a cattle farm.

Seattle has the most attractive suburbs or residential district of any city I have seen, because of the number of lakes and natural woods in its surroundings.

August 2nd. we left for Victoria by boat, and were quite impressed by the difference in the nationalities at such close quarters. The Empress Hotel is very imposing. We enjoyed a drive in the country and a visit to the Buchart Gardens, world—renowned for its flowers and trees of all kinds.

The following day we went on to Vancouver which does not deserve special comment except for its Stanley Park, and the fact that we saw the ill—fated Wiley Post there. Took a night train out for Lake Louise, and next morning found ourselves in the Canadian Rockies, which were much grander than what we had seen in the States, and we spent all the journey in the observation car attached to the end of the train. Arrived that evening at Lake Louise, there is nothing but the large hotel set up on the edge of the lake, which is surrounded by mountains, and facing the hotel, a glacier: a marvellous sight: we enjoyed many walks to different points.

From Lake Louise we went to Banff by "bus, a distance of forty miles through marvellous scenery. The Banff Hotel is the largest we have ever seen. Amongst the animals we saw in the animal park were buffaloes, elk, bears, and wolves. From Banff we returned to Chicago, through Alberta, the Dakotas, and Minnesota, two days' train journey.

Malcolm came up from Champaign and was enrolled at the Argentine Consulate. Alexander invited a crowd of our college fraternity brothers to his house: thirteen


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of us foregathered after twenty-six years since most of us had met: it was most interesting and enjoyable.

Malcolm went back to the college, and we went on to New York, where we had three days before sailing. Went out to Long Island to see a polo match- Templeton versus Aurora: two very good teams, and the former composed of the two Guests, Iglehart and Phipps, were beautifully mounted and played very well. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to RDev. Milburn - George and Mrs. Ward came up from Washington to spend a day and evening with us before sailing. They and the Lilleys gave us a good send off. We returned on the same boat we went up in, and were welcomed back, and enjoyed the voyage as much as going up, except for rough seas we had after leaving Santos. We saw Katie and Stanley in Rio, and were glad to find Moyra waiting for us in Buenos Aires. Charles could not come because of measles, but we soon went out to Quilmes to see him.


© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)