05/23/2015 17:01 EDT | Updated 05/23/2016 01:12 EDT

New Mexico honours history of thousands of Harvey Girls with special declaration

SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico is recognizing the legacy of the Harvey Girls, the thousands of women credited with helping transform the West by taking waitressing jobs along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway line.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports ( Gov. Susana Martinez and the mayors of Santa Fe and Albuquerque are declaring Saturday as Harvey Girls Day.Harvey Girls was the nickname given women who began answering help wanted ads in the 1880s from Fred Harvey Co. establishments.Historians say more than 100,000 women were waitresses in dining rooms at stops along what was then a new railway route.Researchers say the women were usually between ages 18 and 30 and came from small towns.Their work allowed them to be independent and share money with their families.___Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,