First Meals Served Transients In Renovated Pullman Hotel
In scarcely more than a month's time the old Pullman hotel on Miles street
occupied by the U. S. Transient bureau has been transformed into a clean, attractive,
and home-like bureau by and for the country's "waysider," whom the
government is seeking to help by offering food, bed, and clothing until the time
again comes when the clouds of despair and deprivation disappear.
The first meals were served at the old hotel Friday night and since that time
an average of 75 men have been served three meals a day. From the time the bureau
was first opened here the local branch of the Salvation army said last month
2134 meals were served government men at this place.
A proof of the enthusiasm which the men have shown in fitting up the old hotel
is indicated in the fact that although the lease for the building was not signed
until about noon . Aug. 2, 40 beds were set up and the place cleaned up enough
be be habitable by that evening.
The same enthusiasm has reigned since. Rooms have been scrubbed and scoured
and new paint applied. Furniture has been constructed and much in the line of
carpentry accomplished. The dining room has been made especially neat and attractive
with soft green, cream and white paint. The floor in this room according to
the men in charge, was so dirty wire brushes had to be used to cleanse the
surface. The old bar has been transformed into a serving counter which can be
used as soon as stools have been installed. At present, only 26 can be served
at tables at a time.
A kitchen has been arranged directly off the dining room. Lawrence Smith, who
came to the headquarters as a transient, has been placed in charge of the kitchen
as chef on a payroll basis.
Director Chester G. Seamens in charge of the headquarters, testified to the
great interest in cleanliness on the part of the transients. A laundry has been
established where each can do his own washing and cleaning. Director Seamens
also said the greater majority of the men are also a fine type, retaining a
great amount of self respect and extremely cooperative. Those who have come
to the place have ranged from all classes and have been educated in practically
every form of trade. There are a few, however, the director said, who have been
habitual loafers even before the depression and it is these few who have caused
unfavorable public attitude towards the others.
Clothing is issued the men on a work basis. Seamens said since this plan tends
to build up the morale of the individual and the bureau. Bedding is changed
one a week and each day the rooms and cots are thoroughly inspected and cared
Need Clothing, Books
Donations of old clothing would be greatly appreciated, the director said,
and there is also a need of books, magazines, used furniture, musical instruments,
radios, and athletic equipment. There is hardly any time during the day when
some members of the place cannot be seen enjoying ball throwing or some minor
form of sport on the grounds near the railroad tracks. A gas stove has already
been presented by Mrs. Carroll of Conway street who is associated with the Salvation
Since June 6 there have been registered 644 men from every state in the union
and from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Russia and Italy. There have even
been whole families apply for lodging and board. These, Director Seamens said,
have been sent to suitable living quarters. Among those who have come to the
headquarters there has been a certified public accountant, several college graduates,
and men representing all branches of skilled labor.
In registering the physical description of the individual is taken together
with his previous address, employment, length of time employed, and his plans
for the immediate future. Careful advice is given regarding the feasibility
of his plans. If the plans are not considered worthy, the person may be invited
to go to either the Warwick or Wakefield camp. Those, who because of age or
some other reason, are unemployable may remain at the hotel where they will
be well fed and provided for. There is a constant population of about a dozen
who are unemployable.
Registration is carried on from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m. every day except Saturday
when it is from 9 to 6. There is no registration on Sunday.
Harry C. Turner, as superintendent, has been busy assisting Director Seamens.
Through their friendliness and good spirits the two have made the local branch
one of home-like atmosphere and pleasant to those who have been discouraged
and lost heart in the surge of times.