Belén Harvey House
The Belén Harvey House contained a restaurant and a lunch counter for serving meals to rail passengers on the Santa Fe. It was built in 1910 and closed in 1939, but briefly reopened during World War II to serve meals to the troop trains. The railroad eventually converted the building to a hotel and reading room for it’s workers. They built some small rooms at the end of the large main dining room, opened up the entry way to the lunch room, and partitioned the end of the lunchroom off to create a sunroom. They tore out the octagonal-tile floors, and sometime along the way removed the stained glass windows. The Valencia County Historical Society opened the building as a museum in 1985 and restoration work continues, depending on the availability of funds.
In the lunch room side, there used to be a huge U-shaped counter with 3 large serving stations behind it for the waitresses. The original newsstand is still there and the manager’s office. In the dining room, there are exhibits about Fred Harvey, the Santa Fe Railroad, Belén, and Valencia County. The Fred Harvey exhibit includes some pictures, table settings of Fred Harvey china and flatware, and a case containing other china patterns and pieces of kitchenware. In one of the small rooms, a Harvey girl bedroom has been recreated with a mannequin dressed in uniform, an iron bed, etc.
Upstairs there were rooms for 20+ girls, 2 to a room, plus the manager’s 3-room family apartment. The rooms weren’t badly sized. When the girls lived there, each room had a closet, 2 dressers, and 2 beds.
The kitchen currently has nothing to tell you it even was a kitchen. There were 2 pantries off of it and a cold storage room. There were 2 large swinging doors into the lunchroom.
Photographs in the Univ of AZ Fred Harvey Collection (Continue to page 3 of the thumbnails for interior views of the lunch room.)
Trails and Treasures Home Page Journey to the American Southwest 2003