From the Editors 29 (2011)Engineer and Editor Juan Hart Moved El Paso Forward 29 (2011)Elizabeth Garrett: Songbird of the Southwest 29 (2011)A Passionate Life: Josephine Clardy Fox 29 (2011)Forgotten No More: Korean War POW Tells Story of Survival 29 (2011)Janice Woods Windle Treasures Family History 29 (2011)Andy and Syd Cohen: The Men Behind the Name 29 (2011)Leona Ford Washington Preserved Black History 29(2011)Ingeborg Heuser Brought Professional Ballet to City 29 (2011)Lee and Beulah Moor Left Legacy of Love 29 (2011)
From the Editors 28 (2010)Chasin’ Away the Blues: Texas Sunday Legislation 28 (2010)Simeon Hart Pioneered Local Industry 28 (2010)Felix Martinez: Southwestern Renaissance Man 28 (2010)Teresa Urrea: La Santa de Cabora Inspired Mexican Revolution 28 (2010)Utopia in Mesilla: The Shalam Colony 28 (2010)Stahmann Farms Produce Pecans on Two Hemispheres 28 (2010)Betty Mary Goetting Brought Birth Control to El Paso 28 (2010)Maud Sullivan Made El Paso Public Library a Cultural Center 28 (2010)Lucy Acosta’s Legacy Continues in LULAC 28 (2010)Belen Robles: Voice for the Latino Community 28 (2010)Toltec Club: Of Ghosts and Guests 28 (2010)
Strong Women Building a Strong City -- From the Editors 27(2008)Notable Women of El Paso 27(2009)The Chew Legacy: The Story of Herlinda Wong Chew 27(2009)Desert Nightingale: Louise Dietrich 27(2009)1909-2009: YWCA Celebrates 100 Years in El Paso 27(2009)Mabel Welch: El Paso’s First Female Architect 27(2009)Myrna Deckert Remains Modest About Achievements 27(2009)Suzie Azar Still Reaches for the Sky 27 (2009)The Moocher: Callie Fairley, First Woman Vice Detective in El Paso 27(2009)Alicia R. Chacón Came to Politics Naturally 27 (2009)Rosa Guerrero: Cultural Dynamo 27 (2009)
From the Past to the Present -- From the Editor 26 (2007/08)Yandell Boulevard Named for Prominent El Paso Physician 26 (2007/08)Japanese Immigrants Came Slowly to Borderland 26 (2007/08)World War II Affected Japanese Immigrants 26 (2007/08)Living, Breathing New Mexico Ghost Town: Hillsboro 26 (2007/08)Canutillo Developed from Land Grant 26 (2007/08)Rómulo Escobar Zerman: Juárez Agronomist and Teacher 26 (2007/08)El Paso Mayor: Tom Lea Jr. 26 (2007/08)Ted Karam: Lebanese Immigrant Lived American Dream 26 (2007/08)Publication Credits 26 (2007/08)
From the Director 25 (2006)First El Paso Protestant Church: St. Clement's 25 (2006)Bowie High School: Always a Bear 25 (2006)Golden Gloves Grew Out of El Paso's Love of Boxing 25 (2006)LULAC Fought Hard to Guarantee Rights 25 (2006)El Paso Women Gained Power in LULAC 25 (2006)McKelligon Canyon: From Cattle to Culture 25 (2006)Tortugas Celebrates Virgen de Guadalupe, San Juan 25 (2006)Bataan Death March and POW Camps 25 (2006)Bataan Survivors Recall Horrors 25 (2006)Anthony Family Had Five Sons in World War II 25 (2006)Sober on the Border 25 (2006)Clyde W. Tombaugh: Farm Boy Reached for the Stars 25 (2006)A Taste of Southwest Wine 25 (2006)
From the Director 24 (2005)From the Editors 24 (2005)Gypsie Davenport and May Palmer Ran Infamous Brothels 24 (2005)Pioneer Attorney William Burges Tackled Unpopular Issues 24 (2005)Richard Fenner Burges: Renaissance Man 24 (2005)Charles Kelly Wielded Power with Political 'Ring' 24 (2005)Tom Charles Wanted World to Know White Sands 24 (2005)Dripping Springs has Rich History 24 (2005)Thomas B. White Directed Innovative La Tuna for 19 Years 24 (2005)Cowboys on the Range --- Missile Range, That Is 24 (2005)Ranchers vs. the Feds: The McNew Saga 24 (2005)Mexican Repatriation in 1930s 24 (2005)White House Department Store 24 (2005)Thomason Hospital Celebrates 90 Years 24 (2005)R.E. Thomason Shaped City, State, Nation 24 (2005)
Postcards from the Past Editor's Column 23 (2004)From the Editors 23 (2004)Solomon C. Schutz Helped Bring Law and Order to El Paso 23 (2004)James Gillett Showed Courage in El Paso 23 (2004)Jim White Explored Carlsbad Caverns for Years 23 (2004)Ben Lilly: Mountain Man of the Southwest 23 (2004)Aldo Leopold Proposed Land Ethics 23 (2004)Escontrias Ranch: A Link to Hueco Tanks Park 23 (2004)Hueco Tanks is Site of Controversy 23 (2004)Marcelino Serna Became World War I Hero 23 (2004)Sam Dreben Soldiered All Over the World 23 (2004)Kern Place Neighborhood: The Man Behind the Name 23 (2004)Farah Manufacturing Now Just a Memory 23 (2004)Texas Knights of Columbus Began in El Paso 23 (2004)
Look for Us on the Web - Editor's Column 22 (2003)From the Editors 22 (2003)Victorio Fought to the Death for Homeland 22 (2003)O. T. Bassett and Charles R. Morehead 22 (2003)S. H. Newman: Pioneer Newspaperman Fought Vice 22 (2003)Elfego Baca Lived More Than Nine Lives 22 (2003)Woman's Club Has Long Served City 22 (2003)Cathedral's Beauty Pleases 22 (2003)Albert J. Fountain's Achievements Eclipsed by Mysterious Death 22 (2003)Albert B. Fall's Career Ended in Disgrace 22 (2003)Cloudcroft Baby Sanatorium Saved Many 22 (2003)Dale Resler Worked Hard for El Paso 22 (2003)Price's Dairy Still Family Owned 22 (2003)Woodlawn Bottling Brought Pepsi to Town 22 (2003)Union Depot Witnessed Growth of El Paso 22 (2003)
We're Now on the Web --From the Editor 21(2002)From the Editors 21(2002)Downtown Opium Dens Attracted Many 21(2002)Juneteenth Celebrates Freedom for Texas Slaves 21(2002)Black Cowboys Rode the Trails, Too 21(2002)Ku Klux Klan Had Short Life in El Paso 21(2002)Mining Became Big Business in Southwest 21(2002)Smeltertown Still Exists in Memories 21 (2002)El Paso Played Important Role in the Mexican Revolution 21 (2002)Pancho Villa Led Northern Forces in Revolution 21 (2002)Soldaderas Played Important Roles in Revolution 21 (2002)Pershing, Villa Forever Linked to Columbus 21 (2002)Cristeros Became Mexican Martyrs 1926-1929 -- 21 (2002)Houchen Settlement House Helped New Arrivals 21 (2002)Otis A. Aultman Captured Border History in Pictures 21 (2002)
Hot Springs Have Long HistoryThe Building of a City -- From the Editor 20 (2001)From the Staff (Volume 20)Pat Garrett Enjoyed Controversy 20 (2001)Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire Terrorized Town 20 (2001)History Reveals Rivalry of Madams Etta Clark and Alice Abbott 20 (2001)Kohlberg, Krupp, Zielonka Became Business and Civic Leaders 20 (2001)Olga Kohlberg Pioneered Many Local Organizations 20 (2001)Henry Trost's Architectural Legacy Lives On 20 (2001)Sunset Heights Preserves History 20 (2001)Adolph Schwartz Built Local Retail Dynasty 20 (2001)Zach T. White Brought Progress to El Paso 20 (2001)Masons Became Leaders in Texas, El Paso 20 (2001)Smallpox Epidemic Showed Need for Hospitals20 (2001)El Paso High School Remains Classic 20 (2001)Bhutanese Architecture Distinguishes UTEP Campus 20 (2001)Elephant Butte Dam Solved Early Water Problems 20 (2001)
Pioneer Ranch became Concordia Cemetery 19 (2000)El Paso Grows Up 19 (2000)From the Staff 19 (2000)Chinese Immigrants Helped Build Railroad in El Paso 19 (2000)Volunteer Fire Department Grew into Professional Company 19 (2000)1880s Brought First Theaters to Town 19 (2000)Sisters of Charity Began Hotel Dieu Hospital 19 (2000)Tuberculosis Turned El Paso Into a Health Center 19 (2000)First Public School Built in 1884 19 (2000)Enigmatic Olivas Aoy Began School for Mexican Children 19 (2000)El Paso Public Library Began Modestly 19 (2000)Jesuits Continue to Influence Area 19 (2000)Sisters of Loretto Have Long Tradition in Southwest 19 (2000)Mormons Found Sanctuary in Mexico in 1880s 19 (2000)Mennonite Colonies in Mexico Accept Change Slowly 19 (2000)Flu Epidemic of 1918 Hit El Paso Hard 19 (2000)Early City Planners Saw Future in Scenic Drive 19 (2000)Prohibition Stimulated Economies of El Paso, Juárez 19 (2000)
The Editor's Column : The Building of a City 18 (1999)From the Editors 18 (1999)Magoffinsville Had Lasting Influence on El Paso 18 (1999)Town of El Paso Grew from Pioneer Settlements 18 (1999)Downtown El Paso Is Monument to Anson Mills 18 (1999)1848 War With Mexico Created Southwest 18 (1999)Colonel Doniphan and Volunteers Won Battle of Brazito 18 (1999)Gadsden Purchase Clarified U.S. Boundaries 18 (1999)Early Fort Bliss Occupied Pioneer Sites 18 (1999)Henry O. Flipper Paved Way for Integration of Military 18 (1999)Buffalo Soldiers Defended Western Frontier 18 (1999)El Paso Was Midpoint of Overland Mail Service 18 (1999)Salt War of 1877 Divided Southwest Residents 18 (1999)Geronimo Led Final Fight 18 (1999)Apache Indians Defended Homelands in Southwest 18 (1999)Texas Rangers Helped Keep Order on Frontier 18 (1999)Sarah Bowman and Tillie Howard: Madams of the 1800s 18 (1999)El Paso Grew Up with Arrival of Railroad 18 (1999)
Aztecs Ruled Complex, Rich Society 17 (1998)From the Editor 17 (1998)Aztec Beliefs Helped Conquer Mexico 17 (1998)Cortés Created New Order in Mexico 17 (1998)La Malinche Remains Controversial 17 (1998)Cabeza de Vaca: Travels in Texas 17 (1998)Estebán Furthered Legend of Cíbola 17 (1998)Coronado Searched for Cities of Gold 17 (1998)Oñate Conquered Desert to Explore Southwest 17 (1998)Festival Celebrates Oñate's Historic Arrival 17 (1998)Fray Garcia Left Great Legacy 17 (1998)Franciscans Brought Catholicism to Area 17 (1998)America's First Highway: El Camino Real 17 (1998)Pueblo Revolt Brought Tiguas South 17 (1998)Tigua Indians Survive 300 Years of Ordeals 17 (1998)Area Missions are Part of Living History 17 (1998)San Elizario Presidio Protected Settlers 17 (1998)Ethnic Terms Can Cause Confusion 17 (1998)
Oasis Restaurants Symbolized ‘50s Teen Scene 13 (1995)‘50s Cars Changed American Lifestyle And Image 13 (1995)Chevy Bel Air Charmed 1950 Car Buyers 13 (1995)San Jacinto Plaza Remains Heart Of Downtown El Paso 13 (1995)Smokey Bear: A Legend Is Made 13 (1995)El Paso's Company E Survivors Remember Rapido River Assaults 13 (1995)Company E Survivor Recalls Days As Prisoner Of War 13 (1995)El Paso Red Cross Essential to War Effort 13 (1995)World War II Took its Toll On The Home Front 13 (1995)Civil Air Patrol Protected Border During World War II -- 13 (1995)Quickie Divorces Granted in Juárez 13 (1995)Atomic Bomb Developed In Southwest 13 (1995)Former Crew Members On B-17s Remember Tough Times 13 (1995)Vintage Warplanes Keep Past Alive 13 (1995)The Cavalry Bugler: Essential To Horse and Man 13 (1995)Sun Carnival 1936 Style 13 (1995)H. Arthur Brown: El Paso Symphony Guru Of The ‘30s -- 13 (1995)Swing Music Helped Dispel The Blues Of The ‘30s and ‘40s -- 13 (1995)The General Store: A Hidden Treasure Of The Past 13 (1995)
Change on the Border 15 (1997)From the Editor 15 (1997)Latinos Work To Change Stereotypes In Hollywood 15 (1997)Cesar Chávez: Simple Man, People’s Hero 15 (1997)Shelter For Farm Workers Becomes Reality 15 (1997)Women’s Shelter Helps To Heal The Pain 15 (1997)Home Schools Become Popular Alternative 15 (1997)Renovation May Revive Downtown El Paso 15 (1997)Title IX Changed Women's Sports 15 (1997)Special Olympics Shine In El Paso 15 (1997)La Fe Clinic Serves South El Paso 15 (1997)ASARCO Works To Clean Up Its Act 15 (1997)A Growing Phenomenon: Single Fathers 15 (1997)Stepfamilies Become More Numerous 15 (1997)Teens Rebel Against Authority 15 (1997)Comics Retain Popularity 15 (1997)Tom Moore And Archie Have Timeless Appeal 15 (1997)
Life on the Border: 1950s & 1960s --14 (1996)From The Editors 14 (1996)A Baseball Team By Any Other Name 14 (1996)Drive-In Theaters Appealed to all Ages 14 (1996)El Paso Trolley First to Connect Two Nations 14 (1996)Barbie Doll Revolutionized Toy Industry 14 (1996)Rabies Took Bite of Sun City 14 (1996)Rabies: A Deadly Virus 14 (1996)Border Patrol Used Variety of Methods to Control Immigration 14 (1996)L. A. Nixon Fought Texas Voting Law 14 (1996)Douglass School Served Black Community Well 14 (1996)Thelma White Case Forced College Integration 14 (1996)Steve Crosno: An El Paso Original 14 (1996)Rock 'N' Roll Defined Teen Culture 14 (1996)A Shopping Mall by the People for the People 14 (1996)Chamizal Dispute Settled Peacefully 14 (1996)Turney Mansion Becomes Work of Art 14 (1996)First Hispanic Mayor Elected in 1957 -- 14 (1996)Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle 14 (1996)
Three Decades of History 12 (1994)From the Editors 12 (1994)The Plaza Theater…Here to Stay!? 12 (1994)El Paso Broadcasting: The Stories Behind the Call Letters 12 (1994)Alphabet Agencies: FDR's Brainstorm 12 (1994)Chihuahuita in the 1930s: Tough Times in the Barrio 12 (1994)Hobo Sign Language Targeted El Paso 12 (1994)Self- Sufficiency Key to Farmers' Survival During Depression 12 (1994)Hanna's Story A Holocaust Survivor Remembers 12 (1994)Former Members Recall Life in Hitler Youth 12 (1994)German Prisoners of War Interned at Fort Bliss During World War II -- 12 (1994)German POWs Remembered at Fort Bliss 12 (1994)One German POW's Story 12 (1994)Ration Books and Victory Gardens: Coping with Shortages 12 (1994)Women Changed Wartime Work Patterns 12 (1994)Bracero Program Hurt Domestic Farm Workers 12 (1994)San Pedro Pharmacy Retains Look of the Past 12 (1994)Teenage Fashions of the Nifty Fifties 12 (1994)Rebel Image of Motorcyclists Set in 1950s -- 12 (1994)
Border Customs and Crafts From the Editor 10 (1992)From the Editors 10 (1992)King on the Mountain 10 (1992)Piñatas! 10 (1992)How to Play the Piñata Game 10 (1992)Out of a Cotton Boll Bloom Beautiful Crafts 10 (1992)Cotton Boll Entertains Too 10 (1992)Hands That Create Art and Soul 10 (1992)La Charreada - Mexican Horsemanship 10 (1992)Boots - A Family Tradition 10 (1992)Some Boys Still Grow Up to be Cowboys 10 (1992)Boot Capital of the World 10 (1992)The Magic of Mariachis 10 (1992)Ballet Folklorico - High School Style 10 (1992)New Generation of Mariachis 10 (1992)The Lady is a Bullfighter 10 (1992)The Midwife: Choices for Border Women 10 (1992)Retablos: Echoes of Faith 10 (1992)Tigua Indians: Dancing for St. Anthony 10 (1992)The Aztec and the Miracle 10 (1992)A Hispanic Girl's Coming of Age 10 (1992)Art - Low and Slow 10 (1992)Wedding Traditions on the Border 10 (1992)
Border Food Folkways From the Editor 9 (1991)From the Staff 9 (1991)Tortillas: Border Staff of Life 9 (1991)The Booming Tortilla Industry in Mexico 9 (1991)Where's The Beef? In El Paso! 9 (1991)How Do I Love Thee, Piggy? Let Me Count the Ways! 9 (1991)Tamales By Any Other Name Remain The Same 9 (1991)Rio Grande Thanksgiving 9 (1991)The Tigua Indians: Food for Thought 9 (1991)Corn: The Golden Gift from Our Ancestors 9 (1991)Border Pottery - Function and Beauty 9 (1991)Holy Hot Mole! 9 (1991)Looking Back at the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Men Behind the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Hot Peppers : They're Not Just for Eating 9 (1991)Food, Spices Double as Folk Cures 9 (1991)Weeds or Edible Desert Plants? 9 (1991)Cactus: It's Good for You! 9 (1991)Day of the Dead Celebrates Spiritual Tradition 9 (1991)Nutricious, Delicious Beans 9 (1991)Menudo Makes The Big Time 9 (1991)Mediterranean Cuisine: Old Tradition, Fresh Idea 9 (1991)Lenten Foods: From Fasting to Fabulous 9 (1991)Tarahumaras Rely on Nature for Food 9 (1991)Tempting Sweet Breads : Pan de Dulce 9 (1991)
Border Customs and Crafts II From the Editor -- 11 (1993)From the Editors 11 (1993)The Best Little Asaderos in Texas 11 (1993)Glass Work Disappearing on Border 11 (1993)Cockfights Legal in Surrounding Areas 11 (1993)Local Craftsmen Keep Art of Saddlery Alive 11 (1993)James and Joseph Magoffin: El Paso Pioneers 11 (1993)Chile Ristras Brighten Border Homes 11 (1993)Magoffin Home Preserves El Paso's Past 11 (1993)Bavarian Custom Celebrated in El Paso: Oktoberfest 11 (1993)Munich on the Border 11 (1993)Santo Niño de Atocha Called Miracle Worker 11 (1993)Lenten Customs Vary 11 (1993)To Ask is to Receive 11 (1993)Border Maintains Tradition of Posadas 11 (1993)A Visit from Three Kings 11 (1993)Matachines: Soldiers of the Virgin 11 (1993)Dichos Are an Intricate Part of Mexican Culture 11 (1993)Cultural Superstitions Affect Behavior 11 (1993)Que Onda Homeboy! Why Do We Talk Like This? 11 (1993)Traditional Hispanic Children's Games Disappear 11 (1993)
El Paso Women to ResearchEl Paso Women to Research (by name)El Paso Men to ResearchEl Paso Men to Research (by name)
From the Editors 30 (2012)From the Editor, Credits and Contents 30 (2012)Jessie Hawkins and Jenna Welch: Love, Loss and Laughter 30 (2012)Woodrow Wilson Bean: One in a Million 30 (2012)David L. Carrasco Gave Back to Hometown 30 (2012)Cleofas Calleros Made Local History Important 30 (2012)Robert E. McKee: From Rags to Riches to Philanthropy 30 (2012)Kate Moore Brown: A Woman of Many Firsts 30 (2012)Fun in the 1890s: The McGinty Club 30 (2012)
Borderlands Web Issue From the Editor 31(2013/14)Acknowledgements 31(2013/14)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 31(2013/14)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 31 (2013/14)Harvey Girls Changed the West 31(2013/14)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 31(2013/14)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 31(2013/14)
Borderlands 32 Tolerance. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 32(2014/15)Henry Kellen Created El Paso Holocaust Museum 32(2014/15)Bicycle Padre Still Working 32(2014/15)El Paso Connections: Ambrose Bierce: writer 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Bobby Fuller, Rock Icon 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Tom Ogle, Inventor 32(2014/15)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 32(2014)Harvey Girls Changed the West 32(2014)
Borderlands 33 Service. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 33(2015)Nothing Is Impossible: Major General Heidi V. Brown 33 (2015)Local Latino Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor Decades after Heroism 33 (2015)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 33 (2015)Will the Real Leon Blevins Please stand up? 33 (2015)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 33 (2015)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 33 (2015)
Borderlands 34 Inspiration. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 34(2016/17)Building Bridges Instead of Walls: Temple Mount Sinai 34 (2016/17)Ruben Salazar: A Bridge Between Two Societies 34 (2016/17)Luis Jimenez: Art Creates Dialogue 34 (2016/17)Richard "Tuff" Hedeman: The Michael Jordan of Professional Bull Riding 34 (2016/17)Rescue Mission of El Paso Provides Food and Opportunity 34 (2016/17)
35 From the EditorsArea Missions Are Part of Living History (with 2017 update)Downtown El Paso is Monument to Anson Mills (with 2017 update)Chihuahuita in the 1930s: Tough Times in the Barrio (with 2017 update)The Magic of Mariachis (with 2017 update)New Generation of Mariachis (with 2017 update)Looking Back at the Chile PepperMen Behind the Chile Pepper (with 2017 update)Hot Peppers: They're Not Just for EatingEl Paso Trolley First to Connect Two Nations (with 2017 update)Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe Serves El Paso County (with 2017 update)Tuberculosis Turned El Paso into a Health Center (with 2017 update)El Paso's Company E Survivors Remember Rapido River Assault (with 2017 update)Company E Survivor Recalls Days as Prisoner of War (with 2017 update)James and Joseph Magoffin: El Paso Pioneers (with 2017 update)
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Harvey Girls Changed the West

Article first published in Volume 31, 2013/2014.  See PDF version of article printed in Volume 32.

By Melody C. Whitener Smith 

Fred HarveyFred Harvey was the founder of a chain of restaurants and hotels that stretched across the American West.  Researchers disagree about when Frederick Henry Harvey, born in London in 1835, came to the U.S. Some say it was 1850 when he was 15, but Stephen Fried, author of  Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Build a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West, wrote that a London census listed Harvey as living with his aunt in 1851. Fried said that Harvey landed in America at age17 with just two British pounds in his pocket. Harvey became an American citizen in 1858 and married a year later.  

Southwest historian Lesley Poling-Kempes in her book The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West wrote that while in New York, Harvey observed how restaurants were run. His first job in the U. S. was as a dishwasher at Smith and McNell’s, a restaurant that prided itself in using fresh ingredients to produce excellent food for a fair price. He would work himself up the ladder at this restaurant and use this education as the base of his future in food service.

Image caption:  A portrait of Frederick Henry Harvey.  (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Fried made the point that the concept of a full-service restaurant in the U.S. was only about 15 years old when Harvey came to New York, so he literally learned the business as it developed. After working in the food business for several years, Harvey traveled to New Orleans and then St. Louis, where, with a partner, he opened his first restaurant — when he was still only in his early 20s. When his partner absconded with the little money the two men had and after a bout with typhoid, Harvey began looking for other opportunities. 

In 1862, Harvey found a job as a mail clerk on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. He remained when it was sold to the Burlington Railroad and became its western freight agent, which kept him away from his home, Leavenworth, Kan., most of the time.

Harvey discovered firsthand how hard it was to find a good meal while traveling by rail; in fact, having a meal while traveling often was a distressing and even dangerous act. George H. Foster and Peter C. Weiglin wrote in The Harvey House Cookbook: Memories of Dining along the Santa Fe Railroad that meals at railroad stops were undercooked, some food was unidentifiable and passengers often suffered indigestion because they were forced to eat quickly. Meals had to be paid for in advance, they were overpriced and they often were not eaten because of lack of time. Those leftover meals often were then sold to other passengers! 

As the railroad expanded across the country, changes had to be made in transporting food and producing a high quality meal at train stops. Foster and Weiglin wrote that from his knowledge of both the railroad and restaurants, Fred Harvey was able to see an opportunity and revolutionize the way food was handled, prepared and served. With a unique idea of offering fine dining to rail passengers at announced stops, he first approached his employer, but the Burlington Railroad turned him down.

Harvey House restaurants and hotels were born when Fred Harvey approached Santa Fe Railroad executives with his idea of making dining a more pleasurable and sanitary experience for both the traveler and local diners. With no formal contract, but simply a handshake, he had a deal, wrote Poling-Kempes.

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In 1876, he opened his first dining room in Topeka, Kan., with many more to come further west. At one time, a Harvey House lunch counter and/or dining room was located about every 100 miles on the Santa Fe routes. Fred Harvey and his servers, called the Harvey Girls, changed the West by revolutionizing how food was served while maintaining classy places to eat, including in El Paso.

The establishment of female waitresses in Harvey Houses came about because the male staff Fred Harvey first hired often got drunk and became enmeshed in brawls, wrote Juddi Morris, author of The Harvey Girls: The Women Who Civilized the West. Fred Harvey’s friend and new manager of his Raton, N. M. restaurant, Tom Gable, gave him the idea of hiring women as waitresses not only to tame the cowboys and relieve racial animosities (many waiters were African-American),  but also to populate the West with more women, according to Foster and Weiglin. Thus, the first Harvey Girls were hired in Raton. Harvey could not hire just any woman, however; his standards would be set high. 

Harvey ran an ad in newspapers on the East Coast and in the Midwest and waited for responses. The ad in the newspaper read, “WANTED Young women, 18 to 30 years of age, of good moral character, attractive and intelligent, as waitresses in Harvey House Eating Houses.” Poling-Kempes said that women who answered the ads were “promised their status as ladies would be protected by their employer.”  These women came out West to seek greater economic opportunities, to look for a spouse, to alleviate boredom and to seek adventure, wrote Morris.  

Foster and Weiglin noted that being a Harvey Girl was considered a more prominent position than a waitress. Poling-Kempes wrote that in the last quarter of the 19th century, waitressing was seen below nursing and teaching when it came to jobs for women, and Harvey was able to change how waitressing was viewed much as he changed railroad dining.

So many young women and girls decided to join the Harvey Girls in the West because “most likely [they] had never traveled more than 20 miles from home, and had met few strangers of either sex in [their] entire life,” wrote Nancy Johnson, a writer for the Deming, [N. M.] Headlight. Johnson pointed out that “girls who had finished their schooling were expected to remain at home until marriage ... [and] there was a dark prejudice … against single working women.”  Many had to “overcome their parents’ disapproval to become Harvey Girls,” wrote Morris.  Before the Harvey Girls, the women in the East earned money through “sewing, raising chickens and selling eggs … [or] butter,” said Johnson.

Foster and Weiglin noted that in the late 19th century, Fred Harvey convinced well over 5,000 women to move west, and they ultimately helped change the area.  Morris wrote that those who came soon learned to love the West even though they missed the green and the trees of the East. But when they had a chance to go home, they found those same trees made them feel boxed in. Tens of thousands of young women would move west during the first half of the 20th century to become Harvey Girls.

Foster and Weiglin wrote that only those young women who passed an extensive background check into their private lives were allowed into the training program.  Because of the racial climate of the country at the time, mostly whites were hired for many years, according to Morris. However, as times changed, so did the color of Harvey House personnel, as a 1940s era photo of staff in El Paso shows. Poling-Kempes wrote that local women, including Hispanics and Native Americans, were hired in New Mexico, Arizona and El Paso, especially during World War II. Some Harvey Girls were also married with families as many women worked in war-related occupations.

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Most training occurred in Harvey Houses in Kansas, especially the one in Topeka. The women worked full time for 30 days without pay as they learned the “Harvey Way.” Upon completion of training, the girls were usually sent to small houses in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, where tips were poor and social life scarce. After a year in such a position, a Harvey Girl could request a transfer.

Training to be a Harvey Girl was akin to serving in the military. Fried wrote that the girls were put “through a kind of culinary boot camp,” and some claimed “training was more difficult than army boot camp,” according to Morris. If they could not handle the stress of the training, they were “discharged” to go home. One Harvey Girl interviewed by Morris claimed, “I always felt that training as a Harvey Girl was as important as my college education.  I learned about getting along with people, about hard work and carrying my share of the load.”  

Morris said the new employees got a feel for what it would be like to be a Harvey Girl when they placed their own food order with the train conductor in advance of their arrival in Chicago or Kansas City, the two employment centers of the Harvey empire. Upon arrival, the first part of their meal was already on the table, and they were served by the current Harvey Girls on staff.

Judy Garland The Harvey GirlsLenore Dils, special correspondent for the El Paso Times, wrote that because of the prestige of the job, many girls who weren’t trained as Harvey Girls tried to pass off fraudulent waitressing credentials. But it was apparent within minutes that they had not served at a Harvey House because they didn’t know serving techniques, such as “serve from the right, take away from the left.”

Fried noted that if the girls made it through their contracts, they were awarded a service badge worn on the uniform to show the number of years of service. The girls received room and board, so they had few bills and could pocket the extra money or send it home to their family.  The pay in the 1870s consisted of $17.50 per month (plus tips), room and board and travel passes. 

For decades, many Harvey Girls lived two to a room above the restaurant, dormitory style. They had a house mother who enforced rules, which included no men in the dorms, according to Poling-Kempes. They were expected to adhere to a strict code of conduct (including no “expectorating” on the floors of their room!) and curfew was 10 p.m., regardless of their age. Over the decades, these rules relaxed a little, and some Harvey Girls lived out in the community.

Caption:  Scene from the film The Harvey Girls (1946) featuring Judy Garland.  (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

A Harvey Girl worked “six and seven day weeks, usually twelve hour days,” according to Poling-Kempes. Sheila Wood Foard wrote that Harvey’s dress code included “long-sleeved black dresses hemmed exactly eight inches off the floor and covered by a starched white pinafore,”  along with black shoes, black opaque stockings and hairnets. Foster and Weiglin noted that this uniform was meant to de-emphasize a girl’s feminine features. As the years passed, this uniform changed some, and in Santa Fe at the La Fonda Hotel, the Harvey Girls wore brightly colored Mexican blouses and long skirts.

Harvey Girl contracts were anywhere from six to nine to 12 months long. Morris wrote that under their contract, young women consented to learn the “Harvey Way” of working and behaving.  They “agreed to follow all instructions, obey employee rules, go wherever [they were] assigned to work, and not to marry during the term of the contract.” After the contract was up, they could take a break to go home by train anywhere the Santa Fe traveled, after which they could commence working again. If they happened to marry during the terms of their contract, they would lose half their pay and would not receive the free pass home on the train.   

The rules were considered “necessary guidelines that assured the public that these single women, hundreds of miles from home, were upstanding and respectable citizens,” according to Poling-Kempes. Even their uniforms had to be spotless: if a girl got just the slightest stain on her uniform, she was expected to change, since each girl had several uniforms. Harvey laundered the uniforms for the girls but they were responsible for the ironing and starching.

Harvey Girls could wear no jewelry or makeup and could not chew gum. Poling-Kempes told the story that “management would take a damp cloth and run it over a girl’s face to make sure she had absolutely no makeup on.” Morris said if a girl was caught chewing gum on the job, more than likely she would be “fired on the spot.”    

Harvey Girls were expected to perform their job to Fred Harvey’s high expectations.  He was meticulous about the appearance and management of his restaurants. He would sometimes inspect the premises with the fabled “white glove.” Often the train staff would telegraph ahead that the boss was to be expected.  One example of his expectations concerned the water served to customers. Water pitchers had to contain ice to chill water for diners. Morris said Harvey was known to dump a pitcher on the floor if it was not up to his expectation.  If a Harvey Girl did her job, he was a good boss and he would compliment her. Harvey set his standards high, and those who didn’t meet his expectations were let go. 

Each Harvey House restaurant usually employed about 30 girls. Between customers they were to polish silver, fold cloth napkins and prepare for future meals and customers. They were not to be seen sitting down or slacking on the job. If a girl left her work unfinished or it was not up to standards, she would be retrieved from her quarters to complete her job to perfection, dressed in her uniform, according to Poling-Kempes. An ordinary waitress did not have the “skill to serve sixteen people in twenty-five minutes” as the Harvey Girls could, wrote Foster and Weiglin.

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A person eating at a Harvey House had to meet some expectations as well. For example, in an Arizona Highways Magazine article, Charles Herbert said all male customers had to wear coats in order to eat in the dining room. If a man did not have one, he would be loaned one. However, no such clothing requirements existed at the more informal lunch counters. All customers were treated with respect, even the rude ones, according to Marie Evans, writing for the Deming Highlight.

Modern diners would have loved the coffee at Harvey Houses. Dils tells us whether a traveler was in El Paso or in another Harvey House, “a cup of coffee … was always the same,” which was so because the water at each restaurant was analyzed and an exact brewing formula was determined so that quality could be maintained. If water did not meet Harvey standards, it was brought in by train.

Harvey Girls took beverage orders orally and arranged cups in a type of code:  

Judy Garland John Hodiak The Harvey Girls

  • Coffee ‒ Cup upright in the saucer

  • Hot Tea ‒ Cup flipped upside down in saucer

  • Iced Tea ‒ Cup flipped upside down, leaned against the right side of saucer

  • Milk ‒ Cup flipped upside down, set an inch apart from right side of saucer

Of course, if diners changed the position of the cup after the waitress left, they might be drinking milk instead of iced tea!

According to a food service brochure obtained from Patricia Kiddney of the El Paso Harvey Girls Association, orange juice had to be freshly squeezed as it was ordered, and coffee was emptied every two hours and a fresh pot made. Bread was baked daily and pies cut only into fourths. No six to eight servings from a pie here!

Caption:  Scene from the film The Harvey Girls (1946) picturing Judy Garland and John Hodiak.  (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Fresh food was shipped from various areas of the country via refrigerated cars, and the cost of shipping was not as important as the quality of the food. Thus, food like fresh fish, oysters, and the finest beef and freshest vegetables were served in every Harvey House. Harvey had his own ranch producing beef and owned several dairies along the route from Chicago to Los Angeles, the source of milk, cream and ice cream served in his restaurants and dining cars. While a train was miles away from a station, a brakeman took orders from passengers and wired them to the restaurant. Notified by the sound of a gong, servers had the first course ready as passengers walked in.

Sue Tester of the Santa Fe New Mexican said that most of the stops lasted only about 20 to 30 minutes, but the Harvey Girls made the meal seem luxurious and no passenger was rushed.  The food was not only classy and delicious, but affordable to all classes of riders. Evans stated that prices for dinner in 1914 ranged from $1 to $1.25 in the Deming-El Paso region. She also said that entrees cost as little as 75 cents for a gourmet dish and the menus were prepared daily. Dils wrote that El Paso Harvey tables were set with imported fine linens and silverware, just as they were at all the other Harvey Houses.

Menus included such things as oysters, sirloin steak, broiled sole or salmon, ham, lamb, roasted capon and turkey, veal, sweetbreads, and even plover (a small wading bird) on toast. Potatoes were served mashed, french fried, au gratin, Lyonnaise and other ways; other vegetables might include sweet potatoes, asparagus, beets, artichokes, peas and spinach.

Lighter fare such as chicken salad, lobster salad, coleslaw and goose liver sandwiches were served, as were desserts such as fruit pies, cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, fresh fruit and berries and ice cream. Diners could also enjoy Edam and Roquefort cheeses at the end of a meal.  Tenderloin of trout with potatoes and toast for breakfast?  Sure! In the 1890s, a patron might enjoy a huge breakfast of cereal or fruit, steak, eggs, and potatoes, and hotcakes with butter and syrup, along with pie and coffee — all for 50 cents! In later years, Harvey Houses in the Southwest added Mexican favorites such as huevos rancheros and enchiladas, all served by the famous Harvey Girls.

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Harvey Girls were respected and admired in the community.  Morris wrote that many of the women were part of local women’s organizations and clubs.  In addition, many Harvey Girls enjoyed getting dressed up to go out. They had nice clothes and others coveted their finery.  Morris said Harvey Girls demanded respect from the gentlemen they dated because of the high moral character they were expected to uphold.  The girls were “self-assured and poised,” and being “treated politely” was expected, according to Ruby Douglas Kuntz, a former Harvey Girl Morris interviewed. Part of that respect was generated by Harvey who wouldn’t allow foul language around the girls.  

Many of the girls who came from the East married after their contracts were up. There were many more eligible bachelors than single women looking for marriage out West. The standards upheld by the Harvey Girls made them even more attractive candidates.

Although male employees were not permitted to date the staff, Tester said “as many as  20,000 Harvey Girls married prominent ranchers, cowboys, miners, merchants” and railroad employees from engineers to station agents, and attorneys and salesmen, men in almost all walks of life in the West. Of the couples who married, it was rumored that more than “four thousand boys born to these couples were named Fred, or Harvey, or both,” according to Foster and Weiglin. A popular MGM musical, starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury, was made in 1946 that showed the life of the Harvey Girls.

El Paso Harvey Girls

Image caption:  Photo showing El Paso Harvey Girls taken November 6, 1943.  Lilia Mendez Medina is pictured third row from the bottom, twelfth from left.  (Photo courtesy of the El Paso Harvey Girls' Association).

Prince McKenzie, director of the Railroad and Transportation Museum of El Paso, said in an interview that after working as Harvey Girls, many young women decided to work in predominantly male-dominated jobs in retail shops. They already knew how to work with the public and had learned about finance, economics and grooming from their Harvey training. They fared well when it came time to find other jobs. Many even went into their own business after being Harvey Girls.  McKenzie said that their training as Harvey Girls left them “capable of advancing,” a type of job security.

After more than a decade of being ill and not knowing what was wrong, Fred Harvey died in 1901 from what was believed to be colon cancer, wrote Fried. Fred Harvey had two sons, Ford and Byron, who ran the business after their father died. Various grandchildren also worked in the business. Fried said that Fred Harvey's will requested that the business be run the same for ten years after his death.  No disbursements were to be made to anyone in the family, and his son Ford was to continue to run the business as his father had. The elder Harvey would have been gratified to see that even 50 years after his death, the business was still basically run the way it was when he was alive.

Along with the Santa Fe Railroad as a partner, Fred Harvey and his progenitors ran the “most famous and successful restaurant and hotel chain in America,” according to Foster and Weiglin. Of note is that his empire was incorporated simply as “Fred Harvey” without accompanying tags such as Inc., Company, Sons and so on, perpetuating the illusion that he was still at the helm many decades after his death.

Union Depot interior, El Paso, TXThe El Paso Harvey House was in existence from March 1906 until 1948.  It was located inside the Union Depot Station. The El Paso Harvey House had not only a spacious lunch counter, but it also housed a fine dining room inside the depot. Clarke Garnsey, author of an article in the journal Password, stated that the Harvey House was awarded space inside the Union Depot in September 1905, with the “Harveys  assum[ing] responsibility for decorating and furnishing the room.” The Harvey House was not ready for dining by the dedication date of the Depot, but it was ready for dancing.

Caption: Interior of El Paso's Union Depot. (Photo By Maribel Montes).

Harriot Howze Jones wrote in Password that the El Paso Harvey House was a great place for a man to take his date. She mentioned that it served “fancy things like raw oysters and artichokes and lobster.”

Deen Underwood, treasurer for the local Harvey Girls Association, interviewed former Harvey Girl Lilia Mendez Medina, who is now in her eighties. Underwood said that Medina served as a Harvey Girl in 1944. She had a sister named Bertha Mendez who served as a bus girl in the 1940s. Medina’s favorite customers were the Price family of the local dairy because they always left generous tips. She enjoyed working with the other girls but was scared of the matron and the cook, who was meticulous. Mendez Medina also mentioned that she couldn’t fraternize with the customers and she always had to look busy. Her favorite dessert was the banana crème pie and she said she was also fond of the shrimp cocktail sauce. 

Underwood noted that one thing of particular importance about the El Paso Harvey House is the fact that many of the girls were local. In the 1940s during World War II, trains often would slow down and the girls would hand box lunches through the windows. Traveling railroaders as well as upper class gentlemen ate at the local Harvey House, wrote Ann Carroll in the El Paso Herald-Post.

Pres Derhkoop, educator for the El Paso Harvey Girl’s Association, pointed out in an interview with this author that the uniform worn in El Paso was white, unlike the other uniforms throughout the country that were mostly black with a white pinafore. Even more telling is that photos of Harvey Girls in the 1940s show both Hispanic and African-American women working at the local Harvey House. This was a rare occurrence since mostly white women were hired to work in the Harvey Houses. Most exceptions occurred in New Mexico and Arizona.

We do not know a lot about our El Paso Harvey House restaurant, but much is still being discovered.  For instance, despite what some researchers have previously written, this author found in her research that the local Harvey House was located on the first floor of the Union Depot and not the second floor. A visit to the present day Union Depot makes it apparent that there was no room on the second floor for a dining room or lunch counter.  In addition, there is no way that dancing at the opening of the Union Depot could have taken place on the second floor. The architectural plan shows that the second floor had offices for the railroad. Today, administrative offices exist in the place of the dining room and lunch counter.

The Indian shop and newsstand have been replaced by the Amtrak ticket counter, and the barber shop has been replaced by an office. Fred Harvey, along with architect Mary Colter, who designed the interior of many of his hotels, did much to promote Native American arts and was the first to open shops at many Southwestern train depots, displaying jewelry, rugs, pottery and other crafts by Southwestern tribes.

The El Paso Harvey House closed in 1948 after World War II, one of the contributors to the demise of the Harvey empire. The Depression, the increase in automobile travel and freeways, the rise of airplane travel and the decline of passenger trains were other factors.  However, some restaurants and hotels prevailed into the 1960s and beyond. Many El Pasoans would recognize two of the most renowned Harvey establishments still doing business, although not by Fred Harvey: the La Fonda hotel and restaurant in Santa Fe and El Tovar, the gem of several housing choices once run by Harvey inside the south rim of the Grand Canyon, a luxurious hotel where one has to make reservations up to a year or more in advance.

Once upon a time, there were Harvey establishments from northern New Mexico to El Paso, including hotels and/or lunch and dining rooms in Raton, Las Vegas, Lamy, Santa Fe, Wallace, Carlsbad, Clovis, Vaughn, Gallup, Belen, Albuquerque, San Marcial, Rincon, Deming and El Paso.

It was difficult to find information on local Harvey Girls. Those still living are often not available to be interviewed, which was the case for Lilia Mendez Medina. However, knowing that the “Harvey Way” prevailed at every one of Fred Harvey’s establishments provides us knowledge of the El Paso restaurant as well. The Harvey Girl Association of El Paso is an organization that meets monthly to promote and preserve the history of the Harvey Girls locally. Their meetings are held the second Monday of the month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Railroad and Transportation Museum of El Paso. Those interested may contact the association for more information at harveygirlsep@gmail.com or 915-731-6822.       

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