Page 11 - LA Weekly 110818
P. 11

When the first train en- gine rolled into Union Station in 1939, it was to much fanfare, with parades on Alameda
Street and hundreds of diners and travel- ers celebrating shoulder to shoulder in the new Fred Harvey Restaurant in the grand building adjacent to the newly christened Los Angeles depot.
The Fred Harvey Company was the country’s first food chain, with restau- rants and hotels alongside railroads from Florence, Kansas, to the Grand Canyon starting in 1876. As travel to the west grew, so did the Harvey Houses.
The company employed an all-female staff throughout its food halls. Known as the “Harvey Girls,” they came from across the country to Los Angeles, drawn by ads seeking “women 18-30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent” and promising a generous salary for the times — $18.50 per month plus room and board. They were housed at the station and subject to a strict curfew. It was a safe way for adventurous young women to discover the West under the protective arm of Fred Harvey.
Their conservative starched brown and white uniforms consisted of a skirt that hung no more than 8 inches off the floor, covered by a crisp white apron, “Elsie” collar, black stockings and black shoes. Hair was restrained in a net and tied with a regulation white ribbon. No makeup of any kind was allowed and chewing gum while on duty was prohibited.
The Harvey Girls signed on for a year at a time. If they broke their contract — usually to get married — they forfeited half their base pay.
Union Station became the “Gateway
to Los Angeles,” bringing thousands of GIs to the city en route to their outfits at Camp Pendleton, Fort Hunter Liggett and
Cedd Moses resurrects the “Gateway to Los Angeles”
Looking down from the mezzanine into the former Fred Harvey Restaurant space at Union Station, which has been transformed into the Imperial Western Beer Co.
other bases on the West Coast and be- yond. And they were hungry. The Harvey House was serving more than 800 meals an hour and about 100,000 passengers daily in the vast 11,000-square-foot eating hall and boasted a 45-minute meal turn- around and food to go.
The place was always packed ( 12 »
LA WEEKLY | November 9 - 15, 2018 |

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