Monday, June 3, 2013
WHO WAS THE MAN BEHIND THE HARVEY GIRLS? By Cynthia Hickey
Very little are known about these amazing women called The Harvey Girls. They've often been described as "The Women Who Tamed the West", and that saying is very accurate. At the age of fifteen, Fred Harvey left England for America and began working in a restaurant. The Civil War, while hurting restaurants, were good for the railroad, and Harvey changed careers. He continued moving westward and worked in the railroad business, but never forgot what he'd learned in restaurants. At a time in history when railroad food was little better than pig slop, if it was offered at all, Fred Harvey opened his first restaurant in 1876 in Kansas. This man saw a need along the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads and acted on that need by providing gourmet food served by attractive, moral, white women. Hiring architects, he designed upscale dining rooms and hotels to serve the railroad guests, employing American men and women to serve those headed west. He kept the hotels to fit their surroundings and the culture of the towns in which they were built. Notice the Indian influence in this Lamy, New Mexico hotel. Fred Harvey's company would bring good food at reasonable prices in clean, elegant restaurants, to the travelling public throughout the Southwest. They also brought civilization, community, and industry to the Wild West. Over the next few months, I'll be digging deeper into the Harvey Girl history in celebration of my four contracted Harvey Girl stories. The first one, Cooking Up Love, (The Harvey Girl Way) releases July 1, 2013. These amazing women continued to inspire the women pioneers of today. I hope you continue to visit and follow the journey as we meet these amazing women.
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I've found this fascinating since I first visited the Grand Canyon and saw that the Harvey 'chain' is still alive and well at the main lodge. I look forward to reading your book, Cynthia. Thanks for the reminder of how Harvey's innovation and the women willing to try something new changed the face of overland travel.ReplyDelete
How interesting, Cynthia. I'll be looking forward to next posts on the Harvey Girls. I'd heard the name but didn't know anything about them.ReplyDelete
I never knew about this. I've heard the term Harvey Girls before but never knew what it was. Thanks for sharing about this, and your series sounds great.ReplyDelete
I've always been fascinated with the story of the Harvey girls, the fancy hotels and fine food in the middle of a dusty, old west town. Fred Harvey may have been the first to bring culture to some places.ReplyDelete
I have read some stories about the harvey girls, interesting to learn how it all began.ReplyDelete
thanks for sharing with us.
I read my first Harvey girls book that was written by Tracie Peterson. It was the " Westward Chronicles series", which consists of three books. These books were wonderful. I look forward to reading Cynthia Hickie's book.ReplyDelete
Love Harvey Girl history! Can't wait for more. :)ReplyDelete
farmygirl at hotmail dot com
So interesting...I love the Harvey girl history and watch the old film with Judy Garland all the time...can't wait to read it - looks wonderful. truckredford(at)Gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
I love the Harvey Girls! I loved the movie with Judy Garland and I read a series by Tracie Peterson about them too....of course I was hooked! Look forward to reading your books & hearing more about the girls!ReplyDelete