New Fred Frontiers
The Future of the Past of Fred Harvey, the Harvey Girls, Mary Colter and the Santa Fe RR

Bestselling author and historian Stephen Fried, joined during Q&A by several of Fred Harvey’s descendants, explores new themes in the great old saga of how Fred Harvey’s family business civilized the West—one meal at a time—and remains a model for companies today.

10443109_10152704362476886_3787043661864751912_oHeard Museum
2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, Arizona 85004

In December 2014 I had a story in New Mexico Magazine about the Fredaissance in New Mexico, with a sidebar on how to tour the Harvey heritage spots in the state. Since the sidebar is a little tough to access online, here’s an easier version, with all the links.

NM’s Harvey Hot Spots

Since the late 1870s, there have been 15 different New Mexico cities and towns with Fred Harvey eateries, hotels, or newsstands. Many of the original buildings no longer exist—and in a few cases, like San Marcial, the towns themselves no longer exist. So you need to decide whether to visit only places where there is still something Fred to see, or do the entire circuit of original Harvey cities. The latter would be, in rough order of when they got Harvey outposts: Ratón, Las Vegas/Hot Springs, Lamy, Albuquerque, Wallace, San Marcial, Rincon, Deming, Las Vegas, Vaughn, Coolidge, Gallup, Las Cruces, Belén, and Santa Fe. That would be quite a drive.

The easiest and most accessible Harvey-themed trip is between Albuquerque and Las Vegas. Albuquerque was the Southwest’s 20th-century center of the Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railway, but lost its depot and Fred Harvey hotel buildings in 1972 and is still attempting to recover. The Albuquerque Museum has a small, permanent Harvey display—as part of its new “Only in Albuquerque” galleries—which includes artifact-stocked display cases from the Alvarado lunchroom and the Indian Building. There is also the ambitious and longawaited Wheels Transportation Museum project in the very cool old Albuquerque Rail Yards, which can be toured by appointment (505-243-6269); one day this could be the go-to trainiac and Fredhead spot in ABQ. Take a quick look at the Alvarado shaped downtown transportation center and the nearby Hotel Parq Central, wonderfully restored from the old Santa Fe Railway Hospital.

Many people, however, just start their Fred tour in Belén, 35 miles south of Albuquerque, which has the state’s oldest and most charming Harvey House Museum in its lovingly restored depot.

And then head on to Santa Fe. While there, be sure to tour, dine at, or stay at La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza (which almost qualifies as a museum). And do not miss Setting the Standard: The Fred Harvey Company and Its Legacy, the new permanent exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum—which features amazing Harvey Company memorabilia. The big public opening was December 7th, and there will be many Harvey-related special events all through 2015.

From Santa Fe you’ll be driving to Las Vegas, but call or e-mail ahead first. The front desk at the Historic Plaza Hotel (505-425- 3591) can help you arrange tours, some given by the new Las Vegas Harvey Girls, of the places you want to see: the restored Montezuma Hotel (now United World College); the ongoing restoration of the Castañeda Hotel (which is expected to reopen in 2016); and perhaps the Rough Rider Memorial Collection.

While in southern New Mexico, check out the Deming Luna Mimbres Museumand the Las Cruces Railroad Museum. Neither has huge Harvey holdings, but both have collections that would delight Fredheads. For more information about Fred Harvey history and culinary tourism, read my book Appetite for America—which has large appendices for car and train travel, Harvey recipes, and a complete listing of Harvey locations. Also see my Facebook author page and Harvey Girls Cookbook page. —S

Black Bart and I love the train, of course, but I’d suggest doing these trips by car (while supporting the efforts of the Amtrak Southwest Chief Coalition to keep the train route alive and well)

Here’s a link, which takes a bit of time to download, that allows you to watch my entire 10/29/14 lecture at the New Mexico History Museum. This was originally supposed to be a small library presentation for a couple dozen museum patrons, and ended up being moved to the auditorium because there were a few more RSVPs than usual. The day of the talk, more than 260 people showed up. The auditorium holds only 214, so more than 40 had to be turned away–and then we decided to do an encore of the talk the next week. Another 95 people attended. Three weeks later, for the grand opening of the new museum exhibit on Fred Harvey, “Setting the Standard,” I did another Fred talk (along with curator Meredith Davidson and filmmaker Katrina Parks), which drew a crowd of over 400. The talk was simulcast to a screen in the lobby where there were another several dozen chairs and then a standing room crowd behind them and watching from the balcony above.

There is no doubt that the Fredaissance has arrived, and Fredheads rule. We even have our own T-shirts and coffee mugs (available from the NMHM gift shop)!


Love this picture, taken 12/6/14 during an historic private visit to Las Vegas, NM by members of the Harvey family from around the world, some of the leading Fredheads who have kept the Harvey story (and the Harvey buildings) alive allowing the recent Fredaissance to take place, and the folks responsible for the new permanent exhibit on all this Fred at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. A truly great day to be a Fredhead!


Pictures from the first of what I suspect will be many Fredhead weekends in Las Vegas, NM (early November 2014), with sold out events at the Historic Plaza Hotel and the soon-to-be-restored Hotel Castaneda, the first of the great Fred Harvey resorts in the SW!

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the ebook is discounted to $1.99 through sunday 6/29. don’t miss it!


If you want a copy of the paperback of Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West–One Meal at a Time (featured in the new PBS documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound) and also want to support your favorite museum or national park, here are some helpful links:

Buy it from the Heard Museum
Buy it from the New Museum History Museum
Buy it from the California State Railroad Museum
Buy it from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Buy from the Grand Canyon South Rim Shop

If these shops have DVDs of the new Harvey Girls documentary, please order from them. If not, here’s a link for amazon: The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound


For your Fred Harvey/Harvey Girls/Mary Colter/Santa Fe shopping list:
Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West–One Meal at a Time, the definitive biography of all things Harvey, now available in paperback and ebook.
New PBS documentary: The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound by Katrina Parks
New profusely illustrated book about Fred Harvey and Native American jewelry: Fred Harvey Jewelry 1900-1955 by Dennis June.
The classic film: The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland


Now available: the DVD of the new PBS documentary “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound” by Katrina Parks! You can watch the trailer for the film, or buy the DVD for $14.99 at the site for the film or for $16.99 at I think it’s a terrific gift but I’m a little biased: I’m in the film, and it features my book Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West–One Meal at a Time.


The new PBS documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound got terrific ratings on New Mexico Public Television on Thursday night, (11/21). KNME GM Franz Joachim reports a 2.6 rating, the 7th highest rating in the entire PBS system and one of the main reasons KNME was THE MOST WATCHED PBS station in the country Thursday night. Mazel tov to director Katrina Parks, and proud that my book, Appetite for America and I are featured in the film. Stay tuned for air dates in NY, San Francisco and other cities–and if your local PBS station hasn’t scheduled it yet, call them and demand your Harvey Girls!

h girls opp bound

The new documentary “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound”–playing on PBS stations around the country in November and December–is terrific, and it features interviews with me (and lots of Harvey Girls) as well as research from my biography of Fred Harvey, Appetite for America. For the Fredheads on your holiday list, and the Harvey Girl uninitiated, consider copies of of the book and the film!

h girls opp bound

Thanks to our new Fred-friend and railfan Michael Martin of the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society (and, in a previous life, the last PR guy for the Santa Fe), who is the one who got me invited to speak recently at the Society’s annual convention in Flagstaff but also forwarded this very cool letter from his collection. Readers of Appetite for America know that in the early 1860s, when Fred Harvey’s life was devastated by the destruction of his business by the Civil War and then the death of his first wife while giving birth to their second son, he was rescued by a kind packet boat captain named Rufus Ford, who gave him work and helped him rebuild–which is why Fred named his first son with his second wife Ford. Here is a hand-signed 1885 letter from Fred to the president of the A&P railroad (which at that time ran from Albuquerque to the Pacific and was just a sister line to the ATSF, not yet its full partner in a new transcontinental railway), asking him to give Ford and his wife passage to California as a favor to Fred–who mentions his personal debt of gratitude to the good Captain.

A very cool piece of Harvey history from the Mike Martin Collection.

Fred Harvey Pass Request to Henry Nutt - 12-2-1885

Check out my new cover story in the Santa Fe Reporter about the growing Fredisphere and the new living history of Fred Harvey, the Harvey Girls, the Santa Fe and the civilizing of the wild west.santa fe reporter cover