THE TRAVELING IVINSONS

Traveling for the moneyed class was all the rage in the 1890’s. A grand tour of the “Continent” was obligatory for those with means. Edward and Jane Ivinson of Laramie did it twice.

 Their constant leisure travel made the local headlines. As a prominent local banking family, they were the social talk of Laramie from their arrival in 1868 and over the next 50 years.

 Even before coming to Laramie (they were married in 1853) they may have traveled to England to see relatives.

 Frequent trips were also made to the east coast to see relatives and to conduct business. The Ivinsons met with President Hayes in 1877. In 1901 they traveled with Mr. and Mrs. Ora Haley of Laramie to see the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington D.C.

 Farther afield, they spent part of one winter in Florida where the Laramie papers noted that Edward had successfully hunted for alligators. “Old Mexico” (where Edward owned a bank) was visited on three occasions and Alaska and Yellowstone were toured in 1890.

 They wintered in southern California at least 15 times, staying the Florence Hotel in San Diego, the finest in the city. Eventually, they bought a house near Balboa Park from one of the sons of Ulysses S. Grant.

 Most noteworthy of their travels however, were two well documented trips to Europe. The first was in the winter of 1885-1886.

 The Boomerang announced their departure from Laramie on 18 November. They sailed from New York and arrived in London in mid-December. A letter Edward wrote to the Boomerang editor was published, reporting on the wonderful museums they had visited.

 After a side trip to Yorkshire in northern England, the Ivinsons returned to London and shortly thereafter departed for Paris. Edward again wrote the editor of the Boomerang on 17 January and noted that they were soon departing for Nice in the south of France.

 From Nice they departed for Germany and the resort town of Baden Baden with its hot springs. There they most likely “took the waters,” a customary restorative to relieve the aches and pains of long journeys. Their stay in Germany was lengthy; they finally returned to Laramie on 17 June 1885.

 The Ivinsons again departed Laramie for an extended trip to Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land on December 19, 1908. They departed from Laramie on the 4 a.m. train for New York and there embarked on the SS Lusitania for the voyage. On this trip they were joined by granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Grow and Fred Hebard, the brother of UW professor Grace Raymond Hubbard.

 Upon arrival in Cairo, they embarked on a trip up the Nile River in Egypt, stopping along the way to take in all the ancient sites including the pyramids at Giza. They then traveled by camel and donkey for a close-up inspection of the Great Sphinx.

 From Egypt, they went to Jerusalem. While there they sent the following telegram to Laramie resident A. C. Jones, “We are right on the spot where the Savior was crucified. We stood today on the site of King Solomon’s temple.”

 From there they went on to Italy, which was planned as the starting point of the journey, but an earthquake near Naples caused a change in the itinerary. While in Italy they visited Genoa, Rome and Naples, where they toured the ruins of Pompeii.

 The Ivinsons returned to Laramie on April 5, in time to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary the following week. The Boomerang welcomed them home with a front page story noting that “The people of Laramie, practically as one man, welcome these distinguished citizens home.”

By Kim Viner

Caption:  In 1909, Edward and Jane Ivinson posed with their five guides by the Sphinx in Egypt, prior to excavation beginning in 1925 that revealed/restored its front paws. Left to right, the group is: Edward Ivinson (on camel); Mary Elizabeth Grow, their granddaughter; Jane Ivinson; and Fred Hebard. The pyramid of Khafre is in the background Photo courtesy of the Laramie Plains Museum, MacNeel Collection.