The Fred Harvey Company

About Fred Harvey

Map of the Indian DetoursMap of the Indian DetoursMap found in Harvey Co. Publication, 1926, PICT 2001-022, Indian Detours Photograph Album, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New MexicoMap of the Indian DetoursMap found in Harvey Co. Publication, 1926, PICT 2001-022, Indian Detours Photograph Album, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Frederick Henry Harvey, famous entrepreneur and creator of the Fred Harvey Company, is said to have been a pioneer in commercial cultural tourism. Born in June 1835, he lived in Liverpool, England with his family until they immigrated to the United States in 1850. He initially worked as a dishwasher in New York and returned to the food industry again in the 1870s, this time with the intentions of starting his own restaurant. In 1876 he joined forces with the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway to provide food for train passengers at their stop in Topeka, Kansas. His restaurant became a hit and Harvey began expanding his franchise to include more restaurants (Harvey Houses), hotels, and dining cars.

Harvey and Southwest Native Tourism

Ford Harvey took over the Fred Harvey Company after his father’s death in 1901. The following year marked the birth of the Fred Harvey Indian Department. Along with the Indian Department, Minnie Harvey Huckel proposed the idea of a museum at the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Indian Department, under the management of John Frederick Huckel, collected and sold Native American arts and crafts.

The Fred Harvey Company paved the way for Native American tourism in the Southwest. Prior to the creation of the Indian Department, Native peoples took advantage of train stops on their reservations as an opportunity to sell their goods to passing travelers. With the creation of the Indian Department, Native Americans became employed as salespeople and demonstrators at Harvey Hotels across the Southwest. Finally by 1925, “Indian Detours” were offered from train stops. The Detours traveled to various Pueblos as a way for tourists to see Native American culture up close.

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