Fred Harvey

Frederick Henry Harvey (Jun. 27, 1835 – Febr. 9, 1901) was an entrepreneur who developed the Harvey House lunch rooms, restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels, which served rail passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the Gulf Coast and Santa Fe Railway, the Kansas Pacific Railway, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.


His partnership with the Santa Fe began in 1876. At its peak, there were 84 Harvey Houses. They continued to be built and operated into the 1960s. Harvey was the head of the Fred Harvey Company, which operated the hotel and restaurant chain under the leadership of his sons and grandsons until 1968 when it was sold to the Hawaii-based conglomerate Amfac, Inc.

When Fred Harvey died (of intestinal cancer), there were 47 Harvey House restaurants, 15 hotels, and 30 dining cars operating on the Santa Fe Railway. His last words to his sons were reportedly "Don't cut the ham too thin, boys."

A Fred Harvey museum is located in the former Harvey residence in Leavenworth, Kansas. A movie musical entitled The Harvey Girls, starring Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, and Angela Lansbury, and based on a near-pulp novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams was made in 1946. It won the Academy Award for Best Song for "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe."

Fred Harvey was also a postcard publisher, touted as "the best way to promote your Hotel or Restaurant." Most postcards were published in co-operation with the Detroit Publishing Company. Their Arizona "Phostint" postcards are collected worldwide.

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