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October 12, 2017
Harvey County IndependentOctober 12, 2017 Harvey County Independent

Helen Collins Remembers Days At Railroad Restaurant

Posted 10/12/2017

By Pilar MartinHELEN Collins shows off some of her Harvey House collectibles.HELEN Collins shows off some of her Harvey House collectibles.

HALSTEAD – Helen Boese married Tom S. Collins on April 4, 1953. She was 17 years old.

Tom worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. The couple made their home with Tom’s mother in Newton. “I really didn’t like sitting at home doing nothing, so I told Tom I was going to find a job,” Helen said.

She found a job in an iconic American restaurant. Collins said Fred Harvey started his Harvey House restaurants after a bad experience as a passenger on the railroad. As a passenger, the train stopped so travelers could eat.

They were given 30 minutes, but the conductor blew the whistle after 15 minutes. Those passengers paid for the food but didn’t get to eat it.  Harvey found out the food was re-sold to the next group of passengers. He decided he would start a restaurant of his own.

Harvey first approached the Burlington-Northern railroad but they turned him down. He next went to the Santa Fe in Topeka, and they said yes. They said he could have the existing restaurant and they would remodel it to suit him. Harvey had the whole thing remodeled and opened his first Harvey House Restaurant in 1876.

Orignally Harvey hired men as waiters, but found out that was a mistake. Men would go out and party on Saturday night and not come in on Sunday. He fired all the men and hired women.

Harvey was very particular about the women he hired. His employment add read “Wanted: Young Women, 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent, as waitresses in Harvey Eating houses in the west. Good wages, with room and meals furnished.” The Harvey Girls received $17 a month salary.

Collins said those girls had to sign a contract to not get married for a year after being hired. The Harvey Girls also had to live on the premises in a dormitory-style setting and of course a curfew was in place in the evenings. There was even a housemother who kept the girls in line.

Collins said the restaurants started out as a way to serve railway passengers in between stops. “Conductors would hand out menus to passengers on the trains, and then the orders were called ahead so that everything would be ready when the train stopped.” Those diners only had 30 minutes to eat and get back on the train.

In Newton, the Harvey House restaurant originally opened in the Arcade hotel. The depot was then built across the street and Harvey moved in there.  After WWII, Harvey began hiring married women, and that’s how Collins was hired.

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Sedgwick Senior Center Celebrating Five Years In New Building

Posted 10/12/2017

By Pilar MartinTHE old city building at 107 W. 5th was the original senior center.THE old city building at 107 W. 5th was the original senior center.

SEDGWICK—The Sedgwick Senior Center is celebrating its fifth anniversary in its new building at 107 W. 5th. The red and brick building with its homey interior serves as a gathering spot for seniors in the community.

The senior center’s history began with a group of seniors that used to get together at the Coop for fellowship and meals. Then in May 1980, thirty senior citizens met to THE new senior center was officially opened in 2012.THE new senior center was officially opened in 2012.determine if they wanted to organize a senior citizens program in Sedgwick and find a permanent location. The old city building at 107 W. 5th, was offered to the group as a permanent location.

Several renovations were needed to make the place habitable for the group. That building once housed the city clerk, and a fire truck was even parked inside the garage area. An old concrete jail sat just east of the building.

In August of 1980, the group chose the name The Sedgwick Senior Citizens Club. Officers elected were President Lawrence Crandall; Vice-President Ada Plumer; Secretary Dorothy Smith; and Treasurer Alberta Clark. The group chose to meet twice a month. Meetings, dinners, parties and all kinds of activities were held there. Volunteers helped to add on a quilting room, one of the favorite activities at the building.

The Sedgwick Senior Citizens Club met at the old City Hall building for 20 years. They started having problems with the building. Dorothy Hall said she remembers seeing termites up in one corner.

“At one time we had a big meeting there and the termites were flying around,” Hall said. “We knew we had to do something at that point.”

The group got busy trying to figure out its options.

“We started working on the idea in around 2003-2006,” Clara DeHaven said. “My late husband Keith DeHaven was the mayor. He and (former City Administrator) Jaci Reimer were really the main ones who helped us get this built.”

Reimer helped the group pursue grant funding through the USDA. After three tries, the group received a Community Development Block Grant for $500,000.

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Youth As Resources Group Wants To Brighten Scout Park

Posted 10/12/2017

STUDENTS at Halstead High want to do a day of service and paint the Scout Park restroom. Students asked permission at Monday night’s council meeting to paint over an existing mural.STUDENTS at Halstead High want to do a day of service and paint the Scout Park restroom. Students asked permission at Monday night’s council meeting to paint over an existing mural.HALSTEAD – The Youth As Resources group at Halstead High approached city council Monday night asking for permission to do a day of service, focusing on Scout Park.

Youth as Resources is a new club at the high school but branches have been in Newton, Hesston and Burrton for several years, council was told.

The YAR workers plan on going to work Nov. 4, cleaning the park and focusing on the restrooms. There are plans to paint the exterior of the building white and blue.

There is a mural on the restroom wall so the students wanted to make sure there was no sentimental attachment to the mural.

“It could be a sentimental thing and we don’t want to step on toes,” said Claire Wingert, who represented the group.

YAR wants to clean up the sand box in the park and add a border. The students also want to add an activity box that would have things like discs and balls in it, things youngsters could use to play at the park.

The students want to construct a steel box where the items will be placed.

YAR students said they have $300 to fund the project and would not be asking the city for funding.

Council seemed to approve of the work and appointed city parks and rec director Grant Williams as project coordinator.

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