Just when you thought you had every single Dodge City Days event on your calendar, a new one pops up.

    The folks at the Santa Fe Depot are offering tours of the historic building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Just when you thought you had every single Dodge City Days event on your calendar, a new one pops up.
    The folks at the Santa Fe Depot are offering tours of the historic building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
    The Depot, which was built in 1897 and opened in 1898, was a major stop on the Santa Fe route from Atchison all the way to the West Coast. As part of their amenities for travelers, the Santa Fe Railway contracted a young entrepreneur, Fred Harvey, to provide dining and lodging facilities in their stations along the route.
    The Fred Harvey empire eventually became the most respected name in the hospitality industry for the first half of the 20th century.
    The depot in Dodge City was the location of one of the largest Harvey hotels and the "El Vaquero" dining room, Dodge City's finest restaurant from 1898 to 1948.
    Harvey hired single young women from upstanding families back East as waitresses for his growing list of lunch counters and dining rooms. In Dodge City, he even housed them in a dormitory near the depot. The "Harvey Girls" were widely respected as professionals and a movie was even made about them, starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury.
    For a little extra historical information, plan your tour of the depot to coincide with one of four daily presentations given by first person interpreters portraying Fred Harvey and a Harvey girl. Those presentations are scheduled for 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
    Admission to the tours and presentations is by free-will donation.
    The tours are organized by the Depot Theater Guild.  
    "I just think this is something we need to do.,” said Barbara Straight, president of the guild. ”We have a beautiful building and we want everyone to see it and enjoy it."
    For more information, call the Depot Theater Company at (620) 225-1001.