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Yuma park serves up history a la mode
The Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park premiered the new Back in Time Pie Shoppe during the Yuma Visitors Bureau's recent Christmas Village event.
The shop is serving up “delicious homemade pies and coffee in an atmosphere that harkens to the era when wholesome ‘Harvey Girls' softened the grizzled heart of the Old West,” according to the announcement.
Housed in a renovated section of the historic adobe Corral House, the shop had a “soft” (and tasty) opening but gave bakers a chance to relax before it reopens Wednesday. Visitors will be able to taste the shop's sweet treats daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the winter season.
Back in Time also has an antique and gift area for visitors' shopping pleasure.
“The idea is for people to experience the sights, tastes and feel of a bygone era,” said Tina Clark, who curates the park and its exhibits for the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
“It's a slice of all-American history that everyone can enjoy — and even order up a la mode,” she noted.
Thus the reference to 19th-century Harvey Girls, who are said to have helped “civilize the American Southwest.”
The Fred Harvey Company, owner of the first restaurant chain Harvey House and hotels located along railroads in the western United States, hired only single, young waitresses “of good character, attractive and intelligent.” They became famous for their proper etiquette and black-and white uniforms.
There might not be actual Harvey Girls serving the pie, but park visitors will get a sense of Yuma's part.
“We are trying to add new dimensions to the experience of visiting the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, and what better to enjoy the park than with a slice of pie and a hot cup of coffee,” said Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
He noted that the 10-acre park on the historic riverfront features some of Arizona's oldest buildings and exhibits on Yuma's steamboat and railroad history. The 100-year-old Yuma Siphon still brings irrigation water under the Colorado River to nourish the area's thriving agriculture industry.
To give everyone a chance to “taste” the new attraction, the Quartermaster Depot will offer free admission Jan. 2-11.
Pie Shoppe patrons can get a free Access Club Card with any purchase, which will permit unlimited, free return visits to the Quartermaster Depot for the rest of the season. (However, there's an additional charge to see the special traveling exhibit on Alcatraz Jan. 12 to April 14).
After state budget shortfalls threatened closure of the park in 2009, the property was leased to the city, and the Heritage Area assumed operations.
The park also houses the Yuma Visitors Bureau's Visitor Information Center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through May.
For more information, call the park at 783-0071.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.