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How visionary businessman Fred Harvey built a railroad hospitality empire

Jul 2, 2010

Fred Harvey built eating houses and hotels along the nation’s largest railroad, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (including historic lodges still in use at the Grand Canyon). His “Harvey Houses” were patronized by European royalty, American Presidents, rowdy cowboys, and countless ordinary travelers looking for the best cup of coffee in the country. His staff of carefully screened single young women—the celebrated Harvey Girls—were the country’s first female workforce and even inspired an Oscar-winning MGM musical starring Judy Garland. In his new book “Appetite for American” author Stephen Fried documents how Harvey’s legendary company and entrepreneurial vision helped shape American culture and history for three generations—from the 1880s through World War II.

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