In cooperation with Fred Harvey, Major Hunter Clarkson opened the Indian-Detours headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico not far from the La Fonda Hotel.
Clarkson's words on August 25, 1925 (Thomas, 1978, pp. 52-53): "There is more of historic, prehistoric, human and scenic interest...than in any similar area of the world, not excepting india, Egypt, Europe or Asia...The big idea is not only to let people know what is in New Mexico, but to tell them what it is when they see it."
Tours would later originate from the Castaneda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico and other Harvey hotels—the Alvarado in Albuquerque, the Ortiz in Lamy, and the Navajo in Gallup.
The most popular detours were to the Taos, San Ildefonso, and Santa Clara Indian Pueblos. Other tours included the ruins at Puye and Frijoles and the old Spanish village at Truchas. They could tour the Grand Canyon, Rainbow Arch, the Petrified Forest, and other Indian lands.
Travelers who signed up for the Detour tours were called Detourists and/or Dudes. They were met at the railroad stations by women dressed in Southwestern attire and accompanied by a cowboy-driven Harvey car.
|Harvey Cars waiting for Detourist at the Lamy, New Mexico train station|
|Elmer Shelton—HarveyCar Driver|
Facts the Couriers may have shared with the Dudes.
> Santa Fe, at 7,000 ft. above sea level, is the nation's highest state capital.
> Santa Fe was founded in 1607—13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.
> Santa Fe was originally called La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis. The name was changed in 1910.
> You can see five different states (Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico) from the top of Capulin Volcano.
> Taos pueblo has been inhabited for over a thousand years.
> Dancing while wearing your sombrero is illegal.
> In 1898, Carlsbad Caverns was discovered by sixteen-year-old Jim White. In 2016, we know it is the second largest cave chamber in the world.
> The Yucca, now New Mexico's state flower, has a high level of utility, functioning as a material for baskets, ropes, and footwear.
|Southwest Indian Detour Couriers|
|The original four Southwest Indian Detour Couriers|
|One of the brochures for the tours|
|Advertisement for the tours|
|Couriers and driver outside Detours headquarters in Santa Fe.|
|Southwest Indian Detour Courier Mary Tucker|
|Courier Service Brochure|
|Dudes ready for a Detour adventure|
|Brochure for Indian pueblos|
What travel sites are on your bucket list?
|Linda "Lin" Farmer Harris|
Turning Tidbits of History into Unforgettable Stories
Lin and her husband, Jerry, live on a ranch in Chimney Rock, Colorado. She writes historical fiction for adults and children. Her novella, The Lye Water Bride, is included in the California Gold Rush Romance Collection (Barbour Publishing, August 2016)