Known as the "Little Train That Could", the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad has served as a major commercial and recreational transportation link for 90 years. The South Shore Line has reflected the triumphs and misfortunes of the Calumet Region throughout the 20th century. For its first two decades, it survived good times and bad until its landmark purchase by Samuel Insull's Midland Utilities in 1925. Insull launched an aggressive marketing campaign producing booklets, movies, and in particular a set of colorful, artistic posters, which attracted many travelers from Illinois to Northwest Indiana's steel mills and sand dunes.
As many as 50 color lithographed posters displayed in railroad depots, on Chicago "L" platforms, and elsewhere, highlighted recreation in the Indiana Dunes, local flora and fauna, and the strength of heavy industry, all characteristic of the Calumet Region. Prominent Chicago artists rendered these scenes and many won acclaim for high artistic standards. Indeed, Oscar Rabe Hanson's Homeward Bound by South Shore Line won both the Art Directors Club and Barron Collier medals in 1927.
Moonlight in Duneland tells the story of that poster campaign through the reproduction of more than 40 known surviving posters. Additional advertising items from the 1920s and 1970s are sprinkled throughout the book, along with original art by Dale Fleming, Mitchell A. Markovitz, Alice Phillips, and John Rush. In addition, four essays describe the backgrounds of the poster artists and Insull's marketing genius.
While Moonlight in Duneland pays tribute to eras gone by, it also debuts a new period of growth in the Calumet Region's pride and development. Sponsored by theNorthwest Indiana Forum, new poster art has been commissioned to illustrate the many wonders of the area. Several of those images grace the pages of this book, providing the reason for the slogan, "A Region in Renaissance".