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Harvey House

Newspaper Clippings

Logan County, Oklahoma


Article submitted by: Bob Chada

Harvey House, Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma.
Frederick Harvey was fifteen years old when he left England in 1850 to try his luck in the United States.
Years later he had sampled a wandering life that had seen him working on several railroads, running his own restaurant at the Topeka station of the Santa Fe Railroad.
Harvey soon had acquired 15 railroad hotels, 30 dining cars on the Santa Fe Line, one which was in Guthrie, Logan County Oklahoma. This was the first time an american railroad became famous for its food.
Harvey was a perfectionest. He demanded sytle and decorum. If he found a chipped plate he was known to throw the setting to the floor.
Rowdy patrons were ushered to the door, often by Harvey himself.
Customers not dressed appropriately were admitted only after donning neat alpaca cotas which the host kept on hand for the coatless. A Texas cowboy said of the Harvey House, "They make you take off your hat and wear a coat, but the grub is A-1."
One incident marked the history of the perfect food and service at the Guthrie Harvey House:
Imagine the train station early in the morning of summer 1893. Lighting was by lanterns. These lanterns glowing in the windows, an engine being fire up and a few passengers standing around.
The train pulls in and the tired passengers walk to the Harvey House for the famous food and fresh hot coffee.
Sitting at the tables, yearning to "clean up", they watch as the "water Girls" came from the kitchen and began to pour the hot coffee into cups with the Harvey House Shield on the side.
Now imagine what would happen when baby frogs began jumping out of the cups onto clothes, into pockets, hats, handbags, and finally onto the floor, dozens and dozens of them.
Frederick Henry Harvey hired the Pinkerton Agency to find the culprit who had placed the frogs in the cups, but the culprit was never found.
There was a brakeman, who had worked in the Guthrie yards for several years, who was known to have a sense of humor.

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Updated: Wednesday, 06-Aug-2008 22:04:15 CDT

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