The  Harvey House  

Waynoka's Harvey House

 Sandie Olson

Saturday, December 4, 2004

 Waynoka's Harvey House

  Fifteen-year-old Fred Harvey stepped off a ship from London in 1850. His early jobs taught him about the food business, and about the need for food service for railroad passengers. In 1876, he negotiated with the Santa Fe Railroad and opened the first Harvey House in Topeka. New Harvey Houses opened as Santa Fe mainline construction moved westward. In 1889 Harvey was granted the exclusive right to operate all of the railroad-owned eating houses west of the Missouri River anywhere on the Santa Fe system.

   The railroad made a big investment in the deal - they owned the buildings and charged Harvey no rent, and they furnished free supplies, ice, coal, water, and transportation for Harvey employees. It paid off, and passengers were choosing to travel with Santa Fe. Fred Harvey insisted on quality ingredients and furnishings, and generous portions. Characteristic of his devotion to detail were the women who had come West to work for Harvey, the Harvey Girls. They were to be attractive and intelligent, and between the ages of 18 and 30. Fred Harvey died in 1901, and his family carried on the business under his name.

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