Fred Harvey (1835-1901) was a London born American entrepreneur who is best known for the Harvey Houses he established alongside of railroads in the American southwest. Beginning with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, he established a chain of restaurants that continued for more than half a century after his death.
The chain was famous for the young women they hired to be waitresses at their restaurants. The 1946 movie The Harvey Girls starring Judy Garland brought even greater attention to the chain and the women who worked there. But the rise of the automobile and the consequent decline in railroad passenger service brought an end to the Harvey restaurants.
A Harvey House was opened in Slaton Texas in 1912. It closed in 1942, but the facility continued as a passenger and freight depot for many years. Saved from the wrecking ball at literally the last minute, the main building was converted to a Bed and Breakfast as well a venue for receptions and wedding a little more than 10 years ago. The House has four bedrooms with an extra bed in the Zuni Room
Slaton is just a short drive from Lubbock. The map below as well as all the pictures that follow can be viewed at a greater resolution by clicking on them.
With just one half-time employee, the Slaton Harvey House has been restored and operates through a labor of love by dozens of dedicated area volunteers. One of them is Tony Privett, shown below. He is a Slaton native whose father was a Santa Fe conductor.
The The Harvey House of Slaton hasn’t received as much notice as it should. It beautifully displays a bygone piece of Americana that deserves recognition and attention. Lubbock is a city with a population of 300,000. Because of its universities and medical centers it receives many visitors. A trip to the Harvey House would add a lot to their stay in the Hub City. Locals should also visit the establishment and use its facilities. Below are a few photos I took during my recent recent to the House. Its web site linked above has more pictures.