Busboy, Warren Harrington

Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & Store

In the 1920’s, the depot at Canadian was bustling with two to four meal trains stopping each day. Before the roads were paved, all of the county’s wheat and livestock were shipped out from the depot. Warren Harrington worked summers as a busboy at the Canadian Harvey House. “I was responsible for spotting the trains and alerting the chef and the girls. I’d stand out on the platform where I could see up the tracks about four miles.

With the first glimpse of the train, I would run back and report to the chef, then I would grab this big brass gong and whack the daylights out of it with s wood stick with a ball on the end of it. I really gave it a working over. Inside, everything went into gear but quick!” In the following thirty minutes, the Canadian cooks and Harvey Girls served upwards of eighty passengers.

Warren’s brothers and sisters also worked for Harvey. His brothers both became chefs and worked all over the line, including the Grand Canyon hotels. Two of his sisters were Harvey Girls, both of whom married Santa Fe engineers. Besides alerting the dining and lunchroom staff of the approaching train, Warren, dressed in black also served the black railroadmen their meal: “When everyone was inside, I went in and served the colored porters and conductors in an alcove that was just for them. They weren’t allowed in the lunchroom in those days.”