Archive for the ‘Fred Harvey’ Category

Frisco, or Bust!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

StephenFriedLast night I had the pleasure of driving to the new Frisco Heritage Museum in Frisco, Texas to meet author Stephen Fried at a book-signing. [Well the drive all the way across Dallas and then some, in rush hour traffic was not a pleasure!] Stephen’s fascinating book came out this past March, and  is the most authoritative biography of one of my favorite subjects — Fred Harvey. The name of the book is “Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West.”AppetiteAmerica


Frisco is an old railroad town named after the Frisco line — the other railway, besides the Santa Fe — along which Fred Harvey had some of his dining establishments and news stands.

I got to have a tiny part in the book by giving Stephen access to scans of my collection of hundreds of Fred Harvey-related postcards, for him to choose whatever he wanted to use in the book. He ended up using 5-6. So, we’ve talked back and forth via email for some time, and finally got to meet last night on his Texas and Oklahoma tour.

Ever hear of the famous Harvey Girls? Fred Harvey is where they came from. They were so celebrated that in 1946 MGM did a musical about them starring Judy Garland. The song “On the Atchison, Topeka, and  Santa Fe” won the Oscar for best song that year.



But Stephen’s book tells the real story, focusing on the man, his sucessors, and the behind the scenes story of the hospitality empire that lasted several generations. He was very fortunate to be able to work with family members and have access to personal possessions of Fred Harvey, such as his wallet, datebook, and other early records never made public before.


My Fred Harvey Kansas City Union Station postcard used in the book

If you wish to see the first part of Stephen’s book lecture at the Kansas City Union Station, the former headquarters of Fred Harvey, check out the following video.


You may have noticed that this blog is located at That is because I have made a website featuring different Harvey House locations I have visited, with “Then & Now” pictures, using my old postcards and photos I have taken at the locations. You can even buy Stephen Fried’s book from my little Amazon store, as well as other great Fred Harvey books. I also host a Fred Harvey Discussion Group that anyone who is interested in the Fred Harvey odyssey can join. Stephen also has an interesting Fred Harvey blog.


One of my postcards used in the book