The Trains Must Be Fed!
Fred Harvey: Civilizer of the West
Fredrick H. Harvey was a 19th century American entrepreneur who developed an innovative system of restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops and news stands to serve railroad travelers across the western United States. Fred Harvey’s partnership with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway began in 1876 and quickly grew to become the first restaurant chain in the United States. The Harvey reputation for fine meals and hospitality soon lead the Santa Fe to contract with him to oversee the railroad’s growing fleet of dining cars as well. His chain of “Harvey Houses” – with renowned waitresses known as “Harvey Girls” – became synonymous with hospitality and earned Harvey the nickname “Civilizer of the West”. Our exhibit follows the story of the Fred Harvey Company as it shaped the hospitality industry and promoted tourism throughout the American Southwest.
Please visit Travel Town’s exhibit gallery to explore and learn about the Harvey Houses and the integral part they played with the railroads in settling the American West and in marketing tourism and travel to Los Angeles. The gallery is located in the brick building at center of the Travel Town facility.
- Interview with Stephen Fried, author of Appetite for America
- Who Were the Harvey Girls – And Why Do They Matter? Xanterra Travel Collection
You may enjoy these books about Fred Harvey, available at our
Travel Town Museum Store