The Old Colony Line was operated by the Old Colony Railroad, established in 1844 to develop service between Boston and Plymouth. Through mergers and acquisitions the Railroad grew to dominate southeastern Massachusetts, gaining impetus from the development of Boston’s suburbs, a steamboat link to New York via Fall River, and finally the explosion of tourist travel to Cape Cod and the Islands. In or around 1872 the Railroad inaugurated the Old Colony Line, with rail service to New Bedford and Woods Hole followed by transfer to steamer for those continuing on to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. In 1893 the Old Colony system was acquired in 1893 by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Many of its lines remain in use today, and the Old Colony name survives in the Old Colony and Newport Railway, though the ferries to the island are now operated by the Steamship Authority.
This broadside was published in June 1877 to promote Summer service by rail from Taunton, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island to “Woods Holl”, from thence connecting with Oak Bluffs and Nantucket via the steamers River Queen and Island Home. From Oak Bluffs travelers could use the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad (opened 1874) to connect with Edgartown and Katama. The broadside is illustrated by a wood-engraved view, signed by Samuel Smith Kilburn, of an Old Colony train meeting the Island Home at a wharf, along with a map of southern New England depicting rail and steamer routes to the Cape and Islands from New York, Newport and Boston.
The broadside’s considerable size, the two-color printing, the variety of headline type, the illustrations and the ornamental border all combine to make this a spectacular display piece.
Not in OCLC, though I find one example—trimmed and badly faded—at the Huntington.