National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: November 25, 2013

National Archives at Kansas City

Tom Taylor to Dicuss Fred Harvey’s Company: Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City, (MO)… On Tuesday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives at Kansas City will host Tom Taylor for a lecture titled Fred Harvey’s Company: Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the lecture. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the America West.

The Fred Harvey Company was very successful in forging a relationship with the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad by developing restaurants and hotels along the ATSF Southwest train route beginning in the 1870s. As the Harvey Company grew, so did their interests in other types of travel businesses. Taylor will provide an overview of the Fred Harvey Company's operations, with a segment about the Company's involvement with Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) airline flights at the end of the 1920s, and concluding with Harvey's restaurant operations along the Illinois Tollway, shortly before the Company went out of business.

About Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the American West Exhibit

Fred Harvey was a visionary businessman who changed the nature of railroad meal stops in the 1870s. His string of eating establishments, called Harvey Houses, followed the route of the Santa Fe Railroad. Prior to Fred Harvey, there were no fast-food restaurants or chain hotels guaranteeing a quality travel experience in the American West. He espoused the principles of excellent food, impeccable service, reasonable prices, and standardized service in all his restaurants.

Fred Harvey’s hospitality empire eventually spanned from Ohio to California. Dotted with everything from eating houses and grand resort hotels to curio shops and specialty tourist activities, Fred Harvey created a standard of excellence in hospitality that the traveling public grew to appreciate and expect. So much that Fred Harvey inspired poems and books about his famous hospitality, and even a Hollywood movie featuring the Harvey Girls.

Fred Harvey: The Man, the Brand, and the American West will be available for viewing, Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00am-4:00pm through January 24, 2014. To make a reservation for this free program call 816-268-8010 or email

About the speaker

Tom Taylor recently retired as director of Community Relations and the Visitors Center at Unity Village. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School. He is the author of a pictorial history of Unity Village (in the Arcadia Images of America book series), and is one of the community authors of Elmwood Cemetery published by The Kansas City Star and Star Books. Taylor has a strong interest in history and architecture. He is active in several local history groups, giving tours and presentations. He is a board member of the Wornall/Majors Historic House Museums and is an avid collector of old postcards and railroad dining car china.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 15 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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