Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, LOUIE


I recall as a young man I saw actress Judy Garland dancing and singing her way across the silver screen in the movie "Meet Me In St.Louis." The complete plot escapes me but she portrayed a young girl working in a Harvey House restaurant, finding romance, and living happily forever after, Hollywood style. The Harvey House restaurants were America's first chain eateries, were generally located in or adjacent to railroad stations. The Harvey House shown above is in Belen. The sign above the arched window on the right says "Harvey House." It was built in 1910 at a cost of $25,000, and featured a reading room, a lunch counter, and an elaborate full service dining room, attended to by the "Harvey Girls" in their starched black and white uniforms. When not working, the girls lived in rooms abovethe restaurant and were very closely chaperoned. Miscreant girls were quickly and quietly removed.
The restaurant has long since been closed and is now a museum detailing the history of Harvey Houses and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (ATSF) Railroad.

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