Listed below are the locations along Route 66 that once were called home to the Harvey House Chain.
Ashfork – Built in 1905, the Escalante Hotel replaced an 1895 vintage Harvey House Hotel and Restaurant. It closed in 1948. In the 1950’s, the Santa Fe realigned the railroad through the area, and the city suffered a major economic setback – compounded when Route 66 was replaced by I-40, which bypassed Ashfork entirely. Today, there are no remains of the Escalante.
Kingman – In 1901 a Harvey House Restaurant opened in Kingman. A one story stucco depot still stands across from it’s location.
Peach Springs – This building that once housed a Harvey House Restaurant continues to stand but is utilized by the Water Treatment Plant.
Seligman – As railroad traffic increased in Seligman, Arizona the Havasu Fred Harvey House was built. Opening in 1905, the hotel included 60,000 square feet, housing numerous hotel rooms, a large kitchen, a lunch room and a news stand. Abandoned by the railroad years ago, the building continued to stand for years but, by 2007 was in danger of being demolished. According to federal regulations, any occupied building must be a safe distance from active railroad tracks, which the building was not deemed to be, and the owner, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, made plans to demolish the building in 2008.
Though locals and Route 66 preservationists actively worked to save the building, the “Save the Seligman Harvey House” campaign lost the fight and the building was demolished in May, 2008.
Williams – The Frey Marcos Hotel was built in the early 20th century. The landmark still stands as a depot for the many passengers headed to the Grand Canyon. Inside, the old building also houses a museum.
Winslow – On May 15, 1930 the famous La Posada Harvey House Hotel opened its doors for business. The last one built in the famous Harvey hotel and restaurant chain, Winslow was chosen for the site, as it was the headquarters for the Santa Fe Railway. Designed by Mary Colter, the famed Grand Canyon architect, she paid careful detail to blending the aspects of both the Native American and Spanish cultures of the area into the hotel. In 1957, the beautiful La Posada Hotel was closed. Two years later, all of its museum-quality furnishings were auctioned off. In the early 1960s much of the building was gutted and transformed into offices for the Santa Fe Railroad.
When the railroad announced plans to move out of Winslow for good in 1994, and the La Posada was scheduled for demolition, the town gathered up and went to work. Today, the La Posada has been fully restored and stands as an oasis in the desert, catering to a new generation of Route 66 adventurers. It is the only original Harvey Hotel on Route 66 that continues to operate as it was first intended. Another original Harvey House Hotel still in business, but not on the Mother Road, is the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Bagdad – At the Bagdad Depot, there was once a small Harvey House lunchroom that was primarily utilized by Santa Fe employees.
Barstow – In 1911 the Fred Harvey Company opened up the Casa Del Desierto Harvey House . Hotel. After the hotel and restaurant was closed, the building was used mainly for a machine shop, with a cafeteria and a small Amtrak ticket office. Before long, the Casa Del Desierto was abandoned altogether. In the late 80’s, Santa Fe Railway decided to tear down the old Harvey House until an outcry was raised by local citizens and historians of Barstow. The old building was saved by the City of Barstow and restoration began. The Casa Del Desierto was re-dedicated in 1999 and is now home to the Greyhound and Amtrak stations, several arts groups, the Mother Road Route 66 Museum, and now the Western America Railroad Museum.
Los Angeles – In 1893 Santa Fe’s Moorish-style La Grande Station opened, between 1st and 2nd streets on Santa Fe Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Six years later, the Harvey House Restaurant opened, serving up the railroad travelers in style. At that time, the railroad tracks ran right down Alameda, co-existing with trolleys and cars. After years of wrangling and numerous fatal accidents, it was finally decided that a new station needed to be built. Though the voters approved the new station in 1926, it would be more than ten years before it was finally built. With the cooperation of the region’s three principal railroads, the Union Pacific Railroad, the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the new station opened on May 3, 1939, with some 500,000 people attending its grand opening. Constructed in Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style, with Moorish architectural details, the interior walls were covered with marble and acoustical tiles and enclosed garden patios adorned either side of the waiting room. The new station also boasted a new and improved Havey House restaurant and adjoining bar.
The decade after the new station opened, it saw the heyday of the railroad era as thousands of people arrived in Los Angeles via the railroad. During World War II, the Harvey House Restaurant boasted it could feed 800 people an hour. However, as competition from cars and airlines increased, the railroad era was coming to an end. In 1967 the grand Harvey House restaurant closed and four years later, in 1971, Amtrak took over passenger operations.
Today, Los Angeles’ Union Station is home to the Metrolink that serves thousands of commuters daily. The at the Union Station is mainly used today for special events.
Attached to the main building to the south the old Harvey House Restaurant. The mostly empty room was the last of the Harvey House establishments designed by southwestern architect Mary Colter, as well as the last to be built. The room still boasts its rounded central counter, streamlined booths, and inlaid floor patterns and is today used primarily for special events and as an occasional filming location.