Saturday, February 25, 2012

Two Girls Waffle House

I like to think that this refers to the second definition of "waffle"
waf·fle 2 (wfl) Informal
v. waf·fled, waf·fling, waf·fles
v.intr. To speak or write evasively. To speak, write, or act evasively about.
n. Evasive or vague speech or writing.
Imagine being able to spend an hour or two avoiding the issue with these two substantial ladies. If only they had tractors....


Anonymous said...

I believe the more slender of the two women in this picture was my grandmother Ina Shawver, who later returned to Longbranch, Wash., and married my grandfather, Jacob Sipple. She was about 20 yrs old in this picture.

Jake Allsop said...

That is interesting. Did you already have this photograph? Anyway, well done, I envy you.

Unknown said...

I am very interested in what you wrote about the identity of these women. I am researching the Two Girls Waffle House as part of a background story about some of the early Anchorage pioneers.

The Two Girls Waffle House was located in the tent city that emerged in May and June 1915 on the north side of Ship Creek in what is now Anchorage Alaska. The Federal government had announced in May that they would headquarter their railroad construction activity at that site, and throngs of workers arrived to work on the railroad and open businesses to serve the workers.

To take the photo of the Two Girls Waffle House that you have posted, the photographer was facing west. The absence of many other buildings in the background suggests the two girls arrived early (in May 1915 perhaps?). There is another photo of Two Girls in the Anchorage Museum archives in which the photographer was facing east. The photo shows the same Waffle House tent from the other side and many more buildings and muddy streets.

On July 24, 1915, there was a small ad in the Cook Inlet Pioneer newspaper for The Two Girls Waffle House on Woodrow Ave. This is the street name they gave to the mud avenue in the tent city.

Just a week earlier, the federal government had auctioned off lots for the new townsite. Soon after the auction, businesses in the tent city folded up their tents and moved across the creek and up a slope to the new townsite that is now downtown Anchorage. It is very likely that the Two Girls moved out of their tent and to the new townsite sometime between August and October 1915.

On Nov 6, 1915, there is a larger ad in the Cook Inlet Pioneer that reads Two Girls Waffle House, Gray and Barnett Proprietors, Waffle our Speciality. But! You Should try our merchants' special. Lunch and Dainty Dinner.

The proprietor names don't match the name Ina Shawver in your post. So I wonder if she might have sold it to Gray and Barnett or used a different name for the business.

There is more detail about their names in an ad on May 4, 1916 in the Cook Inlet Pioneer. It reads,
The Two Girls Cafe, Mrs Ollie Gray and Viola Barnett, Proprietors. 4th Avenue and C Street, Our Motto: Courtesy, Service, Quality. Waffles our Specialty.

So it is possible that Mrs Ollie Gray may be Ina Shawver and she used her married name in the business. I am wondering if this is the case. There are ads for the cafe until the end of June 1916, and I am still searching for later ads.

The location in the ad (4th Ave and C Street) is a location in the new townsite. Mrs Gray and Viola Barnett are not listed as the bidders or the owners of the property, so they may have leased.

There is another picture from about 1916 showing a crowd of people in front of the Two Girls Cafe. There is a store front and side walk. This is likely their 4th and C location.

There is a brief mention of the Two Girls Waffle house in the memoir written by a miner who passed through Anchorage in about 1915. He praised their waffles.

I'm very curious about what happened to these proprietors. If Ina Shawver originally owned and then sold the business to Mrs Gray and Ms Barnett, or if Ms Shawver used the name Mrs Gray when operating the business, I'd like to find out.