Voices of Minnesota

Oral History Interview with Littleton Gardner

DATE: May 10, 1988


Mr. Gardner was a dining car waiter from 1953 to 1970 on the Northern Pacific Railroad. He was on the Mainstreeter train (no. 1) for two years before serving on the North Coast train (no. 25 and no. 26). He went to Minneapolis Community College while with the railroad and afterward finished a B.A. degree in the 1970s. After he left the railroad he opened a cleaning plant, which he operated for five years.

Gardner lists dining car personnel: administration, commissary crew, accounting dept., kitchen crew and wait crew; hiring process, waiter training, meals, racial make-up of personnel; dining car union Local 516, rule infractions and hearings; inspectors; pay, benefits, and leave; community perception of railroad workers.

This interview was created for use in the Minnesota Historical Society publication Dining Car Line to the Pacific.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 1 hour 20 minutes

TRANSCRIPT: 19 pages