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Welcome to OLLI at UNL registration! > Courses > Zoom

Wanted: 100,000 Young Women to Go West!   

From the 1880’s to the 1950’s, Fred Harvey dining rooms along the Santa Fe Railroad line went through eight western states and offered weary travelers gourmet food, served in 30 minutes and provided with high standards of service in 65 different towns. The “Harvey Girls” were courageous young women who wanted to be independent and self-sufficient. “Young women 18 to 30 years of age, single, of good character and intelligent” served as waitresses. They received wages and tips, free room and board, clean uniforms and a train pass. More than 100,000 young women left their homes for a job, an adventure, and a new life out West. Harvey expanded to build 15 destination hotels, notably El Tovar at the Grand Canyon and La Fonda in Santa Fe, which is still operating today. Harvey hired Mary Colter as the architect, and she created the “Santa Fe style” incorporating native American art and culture.