DALLAS HERITAGE VILLAGE AND DALLAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESENT A FREE LECTURE:
Rosa Walston Latimer, author of Harvey Houses of Texas:
Historic Hospitality from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle
Dallas Heritage Village, in partnership with the Dallas Historical Society, presents Author Rosa Walston Latimer who will speak on her book Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle on Thursday, November 13, 6 p.m. (doors open); 6:30 p.m. presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing, in Browder Springs Hall, at Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, Texas 75215. Latimer, also a playwright and an award-winning photographer, will share stories of the Harvey Houses of the early 20th century, which adjoined local depots in Texas towns providing not only food and hotels for travelers but often serving as the only commercial outlet for nearby communities. Because her grandmother was a Harvey Girl, she became interested in preserving women’s history and writing this book.
“As a teenager I learned that my grandmother had been a Harvey Girl,” said Rosa Walston Latimer. “At that time I had no idea what a Harvey Girl was. As I began to learn more about these adventuresome young women, I realized many of their stories had not been told. I interviewed and corresponded with over 25 Texas Harvey Girls and their families for this book. The history of the Fred Harvey Company and each Texas Harvey House location is interesting; however, it is the personal stories of the Harvey Girls that I love. ”
Latimer first wrote about Texas Harvey Houses in an article for Texas Highways. Later she wrote a play, “The Harvey Girls,” based on the true story of how her grandmother and grandfather met at a Harvey House. Two of the ten performances of the play were in the original lunchroom of the restored Harvey House in Slaton, Texas. She also has plans to develop a fictional series about Harvey Girls.
In her first book, Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, she explains that on the eve of the 20th century, small-town Texas was still wild country lacking in the commodities and cultural centers of larger cities. This changed, however, with the arrival of the Santa Fe Rail Line, followed quickly by the Harvey House. Established in Kansas by English immigrant Fred Harvey, Harvey Houses, found throughout the Southwest, adjoined local depots in 16 Texas towns. Found in every corner of the state, Harvey Houses were not just restaurants and hotels for weary, hungry travelers but were also bustling social centers and often the only commercial outlet for the communities that developed around them. Latimer tells the history of hospitality the “Fred Harvey way,” woven from personal stories of the famous “Harvey Girls” and other employees of Texas Harvey Houses.
Latimer owns an independent bookstore in a two-story historic building in Post, Texas, where she lives upstairs. She has written for national and regional magazines and newspapers and was news editor of a print and an online newspaper and supervising director of a nationally syndicated television program. She is actively involved in the arts and historical preservation of her community and features regional artists in the gallery space in her store. She is currently writing a play about women who were the real “Rosie the Riveters” and researching a book about female ranchers.
“We are thrilled to feature the multi-talented Rosa Walston Latimer in another great partnership event with Dallas Historical Society,” said Melissa Prycer, president and executive director, Dallas Heritage Village. “These lectures provide wonderful and unique evenings of entertainment and education. Because Rosa is connected to this history through her grandparents she can truly bring it to life for those in attendance.”
Light refreshments and beverages will be served the event, which is free and open to the public. Event is free but reservations are requested at dallasheritagevillage.org or by calling 214-413-3674. For more information, visit www.dallasheritagevillage.org.
“The Dallas Historical Society is excited to continue an ongoing partnership with Dallas Heritage Village,” said Jack Bunning, DHS Executive Director. “We are delighted to be a part of this program by Rosa Walston Latimer and another fascinating part of Texas history.”
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Dallas Heritage Village, located at Old City Park, is a nationally accredited history museum, depicting life in Dallas from 1840-1910. It is one of only five museums in the Dallas area to have this distinction. The grounds showcase 38 historic structures, including log cabins, the pre-Civil War Millermore home, a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, an 1860s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, school and more. Visitors discover how crops were grown, animals cared for and how family living progressed from log cabins to grand manors and Victorian homes. Dallas Heritage Village is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts as well as individual and group donations. Dallas Heritage Village was nominated in 2011 and 2012 by D Magazine as one of the top Dallas-area family attractions. It is located at 1515 South Harwood, one block south of Farmers Market in Downtown Dallas. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. The Village is closed the months of January and August. Regular admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors 65+ and $5 for children ages 4-12. Children under 4 and members of Dallas Heritage Village are admitted free of charge. For more information call 214-421-5141 or visit www.DallasHeritageVillage.org
The Dallas Historical Society
The stories of Dallas are shared each day at the Dallas Historical Society through the three million items that comprise our archives and artifact collections. Established in 1922, the Dallas Historical Society collects, preserves, and exhibits the unique heritage of Dallas and Texas to educate and inspire future generations. Housed at the Hall of State in Fair Park since 1938, DHS presents these collections through education programs, exhibitions, tours, access to research materials and workshops. Among the three million historical artifacts at DHS are such treasures as Sam Houston’s hand written account of the Battle of San Jacinto, the original Juneteenth document, James Fannin’s watch, and Santa Anna’s spurs. The DHS collection houses over 10,000 bound volumes, and receives more than 1,500 research requests annually.
Each year, the Dallas Historical Society is visited by over 160,000 people and serves more than 20,000 students through guided tours and educational programming at the Hall of State, as well as outreach programs at school locations. www.dallashistory.org