Who is Fred Harvey?

Fred Harvey (1835 – 1901) was born in England and came to America at the age of fifteen.

  • As soon as Harvey arrived, he got a job in a restaurant and started as a dishwasher.
  • He learned the business from the ground up and in 1876 began a partnership with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, through Charles Morris, the railroad’s superintendent.
  • Fred Harvey was given exclusive rights to operate the lunchrooms, eating houses and hotels along the railway’s routes.
  • Harvey opened eating houses along the railroad, and was not charged rent by Morse. 
  • At their peak, there were 84 Harvey Houses, all of which catered to wealthy and middle-class visitors alike and Harvey became known as “the Civilizer of the West.”
  • His attention to detail, quality and customer service changed the country’s rail travel industry.
  • Fred Harvey is credited as the founder of America’s first restaurant chain!
  • He created a legacy which was continued by his sons and remained in the family until the death of a grandson in 1965.

Who were the Harvey Girls?

The iconic Harvey Girls were famous for high standards and exceptional customer service.

  • Single women were hired and sent to Vaughn, New Mexico, for a one month training class.
  • After training, the women were sent to their assignments.
  • In most cases, they lived in dorm rooms above the restaurants where they worked.
  • Daily inspections were made to insure the girls were not wearing makeup and that they were wearing hair nets and girdles.
  • Harvey Girls were closely chaperoned and dating was discouraged.
  • He hired women between the ages of 18 and 30 and did not permit them to marry until they had put in a full year of work.
  • When Fred Harvey died, there were 47 Harvey House restaurants, 15 hotels, and 30 dining cars operating on the Santa Fe Railway.
  • Fred Harvey is also known for pioneering commercial cultural tourism.
  • Fred’s “Indian Detours” were meant to provide an authentic Native American experience. Actors would stage a certain lifestyle in the desert in order to sell tickets to tourists.

What is Fred Harvey Jewelry?

Fred Harvey is credited with persuading Native American Indians to create non-traditional, inexpensive tourist jewelry. Designs would include crossed arrows, thunderbirds, swastikas, snakes, and similar motifs.  

  • Fred Harvey did not manufacture jewelry himself.
  • Manufactures in the Albuquerque area manufactured thinly stamped jewelry to be sold at Fred Harvey establishments, as well as trading posts and curio shops along Route 66.
  • These manufactures include Bell Trading Co., Maisel’s, as well as other manufacturers.
  • Often times, members of Navajo nation would be hired to run the stamping presses, with the sole purpose of the manufacturer being able to label the jewelry “Indian Made.”
  • To view Fred Harvey Jewelry on this website, please click HERE!