APPETITE FOR AMERICA : HOW VISIONARY BUSINESSMAN FRED HARVEY BUILT A RAILROAD HOSPITALITY EMPIRE THAT CIVILIZED THE WILD WEST
by Stephen Fried
If you mention the name Fred Harvey to most people, the response will be a blank stare. Most of them have no idea that this visionary created this huge hospitality empire in the western half of the United States from the 1870s through the 1940s.
His birthplace was England, but he left, at the age of seventeen, to come to America. Fred's first job was a dishwasher (the lingo at the time was a pot walloper) and he worked his way up acquiring culinary chops at the same time. Always looking forward, Fred knew that he wanted to be a businessman and when the Santa Fe railroad was founded, so was the Harvey House.
Eventually there would be restaurants, hotels, retail shops, newstands and bookstores from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Fred Harvey brought tourism to America.
Appetite for America is brilliantly researched with superb writing. It is jam-packed with trivia and details, such as: background information on Howard Johnson (he was a cigar salesman), George Mortimer Pullman (cabinetmaker and a side business of moving buildings), J. Williard Marriott (started out with an A&W Root Beer stand), how the Harvey Girls, the country's first female workforce began, the Grand Canyon, Native American arts and crafts, plus so much more.
Sixteen pages of photographs grace the pages. There are three appendices which comprise the trip that Stephen Fried took with his wife to look for what remains of Fred Harvey's empire; recipes that the all-star chefs cooked with very precise instructions; a list of all the locations of Harvey's operations, whether the building still exists, is restored, functioning or closed.
Not to be missed. A terrific read.
Very highly recommended.