Waitress Takes Engineer's Order from Smoking Train

Nov 26, 2013

For many years, people and products depended on trains to travel from town to town.  Medford folks could journey to Ashland, or Grants Pass, conduct business, and return the same day. The train engineer was important and town folks knew him, especially during the 1910s.

   The passenger train usually passed through Gold Hill around 10 a.m., heading south as far as Ashland, and then back to Gold Hill around 5 p.m., barring unforeseen delays.  Engineer Glenn Norton’s father lived in Gold Hill, so Glenn would stop his engine close to the Gold Hill Cafe on Fourth Avenue, east of the hotel, and would give “a little toot” on his horn. The waitress would leave the cafe, walk to the tracks, and take Glenn’s dinner order--usually a steak--which he wanted ready when he got to the restaurant because he only had a one-hour layover.  All the while, smoke curled up from the train’s smokestack.   It seems unlikely today that any restaurant would send a waitress to take an order from the engineer’s cab on a smoking engine parked on the tracks.     But, that was then!

  Source: "Oral histories, Gold Hill Railroad Reminiscences." Nuggets of News/Gold Hill Historical Society (2011): 6