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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Caverns Food and Gift Shop Facilities-Half a Century Ago--1950s

If you have been to the food and gift facilities at the caverns recently, you know that they have been remodeled. In fact, a new company has assumed the current service from the Cavern Supply Company who provided the basic visitor food/souvenir/kennel/and nursery services since the 1920s when the first food facilities and other visitor services became available in the caverns and on the surface.

Since  I officially retired from being the cavern’s Park Historian on February 3, 2005, I wasn’t around when the Cavern Supply Company turned the reins of the various operations over to the Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company in 2008.

For some reason I have been thinking that the underground food services were stopped completely at some point. Thanks to caverns employee Avelina Childress who refreshed my memory on the phone yesterday, I was wrong on that historical point. The food services in the underground, as I understand it, have never been stopped permanently.

In the middle 1970s, the underground lunchroom was completely remodeled.

The pictures below are of the Cavern Supply Company services from 57 years ago. Their operations were a very important part of the cavern’s history.

All three of these pictures were snapped by a park employee in Sept 1953. Top—soda fountain; next--coffee shop; last—gift shop.

VC Coffee Shop soda fountain Feb 58. Hewitt 0944-1

VC Coffee Shop, March 3, 1958. Hewitt 0945-1

VC Gift Shop, Feb 16, 1958. Hewitt 0947-1

Avelina ID

This is a picture of Avelina Childress who, I mentioned above, refreshed my memory yesterday about whether or not the caverns underground food service were ever stopped. This picture was taken in July 2002. I don’t know if she would want me to share on this blog how long she has worked at the caverns, but I would like to share this: in my knowledge and experience (at the caverns from 1987 – 2005 working with her), no more dedicated employee to the caverns, or more friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, resourceful, and hard-working employee than she was (and I am sure she still is) has ever graced our caverns staff.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it, if that is o.k. with you, Avelina?

For information on this post, I also wish to thank park employees Susan McCombs and Paula Bauer.

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