About Fred Harvey & the Iconic Harvey Girls
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.
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 1878 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.
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 make up 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.
The story behind our Zahner Coffee Pot!
Harvey Houses were known for the 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 two advertisements reprinted from the 1930s industry trade magazine, Hotel Monthly, show examples, prices and descriptions of the Zahner coffee pots.
104 N 1st Street
Belén, NM 87002
333 Becker Avenue
Belén, NM 87002