fred harvey trading company
Starting in 1876, Fred Harvey was a prominent purveyor of hospitality services and products throughout the southwest. Gift shops in our nation’s historic parks and famous resorts continue to uphold his great legacy.
Who Was Fred Harvey
Fred Harvey was a talented visionary who saw the need for quality hotels and restaurants for weary travelers making their way west on the Santa Fe Railroad. Working in concert with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, the English-born Harvey opened the first of his highly successful “Harvey Houses” in 1876 in Topeka, Kansas. By offering good food served promptly – in sharp contrast to many other early western eateries – Harvey enjoyed tremendous success. The famous “Harvey Girls,” well-groomed young women carefully trained as waitresses, further increased customer traffic. Before long, Harvey was operating restaurants, hotels, and newsstands in increasing all along the A.T.& S.F. route.
After Harvey’s death in 1901, his sons, Ford and Byron, continued to operate the now substantial family business. Noted architect Mary Jane Colter was hired to design several buildings for the Harvey Company, including the Bright Angel Lodge, Desert View Watchtower, Phantom Ranch, Hopi House, Hermits Rest and Lookout Studio at the Grand Canyon. “Harveycars,” replete with tour guides, transported growing numbers of tourists to scenic attractions. Fine Native American crafts became a hallmark in the Harvey retail shops, many of which also employed regional artisans to demonstrate their handiwork on site.
Perhaps more than any single organization, the Fred Harvey system introduced the New America to New Americans. Today, Xanterra Parks & Resorts continues to operate the Fred Harvey Trading Company according to the same philosophy as the “Civilizer of the West,” as Harvey was known back in the 1880s. Fred Harvey believed that operating in remote locations was no reason to sacrifice quality, service and value. From vacation mementos to true works of art, today’s park visitors find a wide variety of high-quality gifts.