2. Running the Canteen

The Canteen in North Platte Nebraska The North Platte Canteen met its first troop train on December 25, 1941. Baskets of goodies were prepared across the street from the depot at the Cody Hotel. When it arrived, the troops had to stay on the train for security reasons, so the women handed the cookies, fruit, cigarettes, and magazines up through the windows. Before long, though, security lessened and, simultaneously, the number of troops coming through the city became too great for the facilities at the hotel.

Wilson then contacted William “Bill” Jeffers, who was both a local resident and President of the Union Pacific Railroad. She asked him if the canteen could be run in the vacant lunchroom at the depot. He immediately agreed and preparations were made to move in as soon as possible. The facility would serve as the canteen’s location for the remainder of the war.

Before long, the tremendous effort began to take a toll on Rae Wilson’s health and she had to hand over the operation to Helen Christ. Christ would remain at the helm for the rest of the war.