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Frederick Henry Harvey (June 27, 1835 – February 9, 1901) was an entrepreneur who developed the Harvey House lunch rooms, restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels, which served rail passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the Gulf Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, the Kansas Pacific Railway, the St.Louis-San Francisco Railway, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. As an innovative restaurateur and marketer, Fred Harvey is credited with creating the first restaurant chain in the United States.He was also a leader in promoting tourism in the American Southwest in the late 19th century.Fred Harvey and his employees successfully brought new higher standards of both civility and dining to a region widely regarded in the era as "the Wild West." He created a legacy which was continued by his sons and remained in the family until the death of a grandson in 1965.Despite the decline of passenger train patronage in the United States in the 20th century with the advent of the automobile, portions of the Fred Harvey Company have continued to operate since 1968 as part of a larger hospitality industry conglomerate. They taught him the importance of quality service, fresh ingredients and the handshake deal.There he learned the business from the establishment's quirky proprietors, Henry Smith and T. Harvey quickly worked his way up to busboy, waiter and line cook.This early entry into the world of food service would have large impacts later in his life.He moved from New York City to New Orleans after 18 months and survived a bout with yellow fever and then to St. In 1856 he married Barbara Sarah Mattas, with whom he would have a total of six children.
He started a Café with a partner, and the two ran a profitable business. The partner was sympathetic to the Confederacy and left town, taking all of the money the two had earned.Harvey soon got back on his feet, working for the Hannibal and St.Joseph Railroad which was eventually purchased by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.He ascended the corporate ladder and was transferred to Leavenworth, Kansas, which would remain his home.
Harvey traveled frequently while working for the railroads and found himself deeply dissatisfied with the food served to travelers.The Casa del Desierto ("House of the Desert") located in Barstow, California is seen here in 2006.The Spanish-Moroccan designed structure took two years to construct, and opened its doors on February 22, 1911.Harvey discovered his calling when in 1873, he began a business venture with Jasper "Jeff" S.