When Louise McGlachlin bought the Scio Lunch on Main Street in 1959 she never would have believed that three years later she’d be serving hundreds of meals to people who would lose power during a storm on Columbus Day.
“That afternoon, I remember it got real dark and you really couldn’t see in the restaurant, and then the wind started,” said McGlachlin, now 84 and living in North Albany. “A big, tall tree fell into the building, and some of my regulars ran out to get a board to put over a broken window.”
Although the power went out all over Scio, she still could prepare food because “I had gas and not electricity.”
The word spread that she was open and it wasn’t long after the wind died down that people started lining up at her restaurant to get fed.
“I was making hot dogs, hamburgers and serving coffee,” she said. “I hired eight women, who originally volunteered but I wanted to pay them, so I gave them 50 cents an hour to work with my two other waitresses.”
There were 31 seats in the restaurant and every one of them was filled for the two days the area was without power. People would wait patiently outside for their turn to eat.
“I was glad I had food on hand to keep up with the crowds,” McGlachlin said. “I had to send two
Some of those who came to the restaurant couldn’t afford to pay because they didn’t have jobs but McGlachlin let them eat anyway. She never considered doing otherwise.
Back then, she charged 5 cents for coffee with unlimited refills; 5 cents for a soda; and $3 for a steak with all of the trimmings that included soup, salad, a vegetable and dessert.
Every morning, Mc-Glachlin made a variety of pies, selling each for 75 cents. She also made her own bread and doughnuts.
“I finally had to quit all of that because I got so tired,” she said. McGlachlin also was a single mother raising two daughters.
She recalls all the work she did during the storm but says she was glad to help those who needed it.
“Now every time I see that Columbus Day is coming up, I say I hope not another storm again,” McGlachlin said.