The Harvey House in Waynoka opened in July, 1910, and began serving passengers on the Santa Fe main rail line from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Waynoka's Harvey House earned a unique place in American aviation history when Col. Charles Lindbergh chose Waynoka for the location of an airport on the Transcontinental Air Transport air-rail route between New York and Los Angeles.
Service at Waynoka's state-of-the-art airport was begun in July, 1929. The 48-hour journey brought passengers by Ford Tri-Motor airplanes from the east to Waynoka where they dined at the Harvey House, then rode by train through the night to Clovis where they breakfasted at the Clovis Harvey House before continuing by air to Los Angeles. Eastbound passengers arrived in Waynoka by train, and continued east via Ford Tri-Motor after their Harvey House breakfast. Lionel Barrymore, Will Rogers, Ernie Pyle, and many other well known people of the era enjoyed the hospitality of Waynoka's Harvey House. Charles and Ann Lindbergh entertained the Waynoka TAT crew at the Harvey House. They were overnight guests there, as was Amelia Earhart, who was TAT's Assistant to the General Traffic Manager.
The Harvey House continued its fine tradition of excellent dining in Waynoka until its closing in 1937. The Santa Fe Railroad's Reading Room occupied the old Harvey House until 1986. The building functioned as the railroad's depot from the early 1980's until the early 1990's when the Santa Fe Railroad vacated the building and locked the doors. The Santa Fe Railroad donated the buildings to the City of Waynoka who in turn deeded them to the Waynoka Historical Society.
Fearing demolition of the beautiful historic Harvey House, the Waynoka Historical Society began the task of seeking funds to restore the Waynoka Depot and Harvey House. The Society received funding for 80% of the restoration costs from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Additional funding came from a variety of sources.
The restoration of the Waynoka Harvey House was completed in late 1999. The beautiful mission-style structure now houses the Waynoka History Museum on the second floor, and El Charro Restaurant and the Museum Gift Shop on the ground floor.
Fund raising and restoration of the Santa Fe Depot is underway. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2005. Funds will restore the 1910 Santa Fe Depot, pave parking areas, landscape the complex, and complete the Waynoka History Museum.
For further information, call or write the Waynoka Historical Society.
The Harvey House