Pheasant Canteen

Operations

The menu began with ground ham sandwiches, cake, cookies, donuts, fresh fruit, pie, milk, and coffee. An average of 500 troops arrived on 4 to 6 trains each day. Sometimes as many as 1,500 troops came on a single day and into the night.

In December of 1943 some farmers began bringing pheasants to the canteen workers and the pheasant sandwich became a significant part of the menu. When the troops passed the word along to friends and family about Aberdeen they referred to it as the "Pheasant Canteen."

 

Serve Soldiers

A birthday cake was always ready for anyone celebrating a birthday.

The generosity of the people was almost unbelievable. Most of the food was donated. Various groups organized fund raisers to support the canteen. Volunteers who prepared and served the food came from nearly 40 communities. Pheasant hunts were organized and the Milwaukee Railroad transported many donations to Aberdeen. At one time nearly 1,000 birds were in storage for the canteen workers. The cost to operate the canteen averaged $560 per month for the additional supplies which were not donated.

During the holidays there was a lighted Christmas tree and on December 24, 25, and 26 troops received a Christmas gift. At Easter colored eggs were prepared.