Join us on April 16, 2016, at 1 pm in the NAU Cline Library Assembly Hall for a free screening of The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound documentary, new Harvey Girl oral histories, and a panel discussion. (At left in the image is Luz Delgadillo Moore, film interviewee and longtime Winslow resident, who worked as a Harvey Girl at the Seligman Harvey Girl during World War II. Photo courtesy of Luz Delgadillo Moore)

There were the more than 100,000 young women who, from the 1880s through the 1960s, left their homes and traveled west to work as waitresses in Harvey House restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad—including in Arizona.

“For women, it was an amazing opportunity to be independent,” said filmmaker Katrina Parks. “You could leave home, explore the American West, and live in protected circumstances while earning enough money to send back to your family.”

Following the original documentary at 1 pm, there will be a screening of new interviews and a panel discussion with Parks, women’s history expert Dr. Heidi Osselaer, Hopi Harvey Project Manager Colleen Lucero, and Old Trails Museum Director Ann-Mary Lutzick at 2 pm.

The panelists will place the Harvey Girls within a larger women’s history context and discuss the significant impact the Harvey Girls had on the workplace, the hospitality business, and the development of the American West. They will also offer a more diverse perspective on the Harvey Girl experience than has been recorded and shared with the public to date. By continuing to gather oral histories, the public’s understanding of who
the Harvey Girls were continues to evolve.

The screening and panel discussion take place in conjunction with the NAU Cline Library’s exhibit, Fred Harvey: Branding the Southwest, which is sponsored by the Flagstaff Arts Council, the BBB of Flagstaff, Flagstaff 365, and the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges. The event is made possible by Arizona Humanities.


The Old Trails Museum will offer its 2016 Spring History Highlight on Saturday, May 14, at 2 pm at the Winslow Visitors Center/Hubbell Trading Post, 523 West Second Street. Dr. John S. Westerlund will give a free presentation of Arizona’s War Town: Flagstaff, Navajo Ordnance Depot, and World War II. (At left: Navajo women work on 500-pound bombs at the depot. Photo courtesy of NAU Cline Library Special Collections and Archives)

Using historic photographs, Dr. Westerlund will discuss how, just weeks after Pearl Harbor, the War Department announced the construction of a massive ammunition depot at Bellemont, located ten miles west of Flagstaff on U.S. Route 66. The Army rushed the $17 million project to completion in a spasm of boom-town upheaval, and Flagstaff’s population soon exploded from five to twenty thousand.

The struggling new depot was the key storage facility for the busy Port of Los Angeles. Several thousand Navajo and Hopi construction workers stayed on to run it, so the commander invited them to build an “Indian Village” for their families to live on the military base. For many, Navajo Depot was a key stopping point on their migration from tribal lands to Flagstaff and other urban areas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy halted plummeting enrollment at what is now Northern Arizona University by shipping in one thousand sailors and marines to participate in its “V-12” program, designed to produce officers for the largest navy in history.

In addition, in early 1945, the Florence prisoner-of-war camp sent 250 Austrian POWs to Bellemont. Working alongside the Navajo and Hopi staff, they remained until April 1946 and provided over 50,000 man-days of labor vital to the Pacific Theater.

Flagstaff’s wartime story illustrates the results of military expansion on economic, social, and community development in Arizona. The town became an “arsenal of democracy,” where hard work and discipline were required and expected from all. It also illustrates the remarkable co-existence of sometimes contentious ethnic communities, an experience that reached the heart and soul of Flagstaff.

Dr. Westerlund served as a U.S. Army field artillery officer for twenty-six years, retiring in 1994 as a lieutenant colonel. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Utah State University and Northern Arizona University, respectively. Dr. Westerlund’s presentation was drawn from his book of the same name, and he is a frequent contributor to the Journal of Arizona History. Dr. Westerlund was also a seasonal ranger with the National Park Service at the Flagstaff Area National Monuments for eleven summers.

The 2016 Spring History Highlight, a partnership program between the Old Trails Museum and the Winslow Chamber of Commerce, was made possible in part by a grant from Arizona Humanities. For the latest updates on all of the Old Trails Museum’s exhibits and programs, subscribe to our “News” feed or “like” the museum on Facebook.