[KHTS] – The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society will host a free screening Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. of the documentary film, “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound,” at the Old Town Newhall Library.
A question-and-answer session with the film’s director, writer and executive producer, Katrina Parks, is scheduled to follow the screening.
“‘The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound’ is a new documentary film that explores how starting in the 1880s, more than 100,000 brave young women, ‘Harvey girls’ as they were called, made an unusual decision to leave home and travel west to work as waitresses along the transcontinental railroad opening the doors of both the West and the workplace to women,” according to the film’s website.
The documentary features interviews with the few remaining Harvey girls, as well as with those closest to them, according to its website.
It is also expected to include interviews with Stephen Fried, an award-winning author and expert on Fred Harvey, the man for which the women were named.
“As a young girl when I first learned about [the Harvey girls] I was inspired by the parallels that I saw in my life, I was also young and trying to forge my way in the world,” Parks said. “I hope [viewers] are inspired to go on their own Harvey girl journeys and experience their own adventures.”
A series of grants from the Arizona Humanities Council, the Orange Empire Railroad Museum, The Belen Harvey House Museum and the Valencia County Historical Society funded the creation of the documentary, according to the film’s Facebook page.
The film was recently nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in the category of best special or documentary.
“I’m really excited that Santa Clarita expressed interest in this screening,” Parks said. “It’s not usually a hard sell for small railroad towns because it’s such an important part of their heritage.”
The Santa Clarita Historical Society and Friends of Hart Park are also expected to host a joint fundraiser following the documentary screening later on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. in the Hart Hall in William S. Hart Park.
The organizations will screen the classic 1964 MGM movie The Harvey Girls, a fictionalization of the events discussed in Parks’ documentary, according to Alan Pollack, president of the Santa Clarita Historical Society.
Admission is expected to cost $2 for members of either the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society or Hart Park and $5 for nonmembers.
“It helps to know where you came from to know where you’re going,” Pollack said. “The history of a community is the soul of a community.”
More information on the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society’s Aug. 2 screenings can be found [here].
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