In this 1880s photo, San Antonio’s famous “Chili Queens” serve chili con carne on the city’s Military Plaza. Women, mostly Hispanic, sold and served Mexican delicacies in open-air restaurants with communal tables from dawn to dusk on the city’s plazas from the 1860s to the 1930s.
– COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –
There is a misconception about working women in the Wild West. Many hard-working women served while standing on their feet, and not their backs. Either single or widowed, they needed to earn a living, so many ran restaurants, cafes, boardinghouses or other businesses that provided food on the frontier. Some of them cooked their own meals, while others only managed their business.
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