About Fred Harvey & the Iconic Harvey Girls
Fred Harvey (1835 - 1901) was born in England and came to America at the age of fifteen. As soon as Harvey arrived, he got a job in a restaurant and started as a dishwasher. He learned the business from the ground up and in 1876 began a partnership with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. He was given exclusive rights to operate the lunchrooms, eating houses and hotels along the railway's routes. His attention to detail, quality and customer service changed the country's rail travel industry.
The iconic Harvey Girls were famous for high standards and good customer service. Single women were hired and sent to Vaughn, New Mexico, for a one month training class. After training, the women were sent to their assignments. In most cases, they lived in dorm rooms above the restaurants where they worked. Harvey Girls were closely chaperoned and dating was discouraged.
A day in the life of a Harvey Girl included working split shifts, making fresh coffee, cleaning and setting the silver service on fine linen table cloths. At the start of each shift, the women had daily inspections to insure they were not wearing makeup and that their uniforms were spotless before starting the work day. The average salary was around $17.50 a month, with free room & board, clean uniforms and tips.
Meet George Clark!
Learn about his extraordinary life from his
humble beginnings in Vaughn, New Mexico,
to his rise as Vice President of the
Special online exhibits
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Enjoy our Museum Tour!
Click on Eva's Scrapbook & Relive the
History of a Former Belen Harvey Girl!
Meet Eva Fuqua!
Enjoy our Museum tour with New Mexico True!
Click on George's photo for this story!
Click the link below to remember our friend, historian, and volunteer.
Click Card for Jim's Postcard Exhibit!
Meet Jim Sloan and discover
Belen's history through his
Click on Pearl's Camera for...
"Little Girl with Camera"
Susanna Gilbert grew up in Belen, New Mexico. She was an Amtrak traveler going back and forth between Washington DC and Albuquerque. As a volunteer at the Belen Harvey House Museum she hears the rumbling freight cars as they pass close by the Belen Harvey House Museum. Susanna doesn't attempt to crack the code of the secret language or find a meaning in the graffiti.
Fred Harvey Company and Zahner Manufacturing
About our Zahner coffee pot
Harvey Houses were known for having the best coffee. The coffee was made fresh just before the trains arrived and a pinch of salt was added to neutralize bitterness. Some Harvey Houses used spring or bottled water to keep the taste consistent with the other locations.
This coffee pot was found in an antique shop close to the Fred Harvey Headquarters in Kansas City, MO.
Today, the coffee pot stands proudly in our lunchroom.
Today, our Zahner coffee pot stands proudly in the lunchroom.
Pictured below is the original Belen Harvey House lunchroom with three, highly polished Zahner coffee pots.
These advertisements, reprinted from the 1930s industry trade magazine, Hotel Monthly, show examples, prices and descriptions of the Zahner coffee pots.
The Zahner Company, located in Missouri, made the steam tables, kitchen equipment and the coffee pots for the Fred Harvey Company.
Remembering the Judy Garland Movie!
Click on image for
movie information and video clips.
Visit Our Gift Shop
Unique items, and all the proceeds support the Museum
Click on the ATSF Rail Pass and visit our Museum Store. We have a collection of Fred Harvey T-shirts, books and videos. Your purchase helps with special Museum programs and exhibits.
We are still adding more items. The Museum Gift Shop is open. Thank You!
Join The Ranks of the Fun Employed!
Do you have an interest in history, museums, historic buildings or just want to lend a hand? Please consider becoming a volunteer. We have openings for docents/tour guides and interns to help with research, fund raising, and events throughout the year.
Please contact our Museum Coordinator: Frances.email@example.com