This new, well-produced interview features JoAn Fuller, who worked as a Harvey Girl at La Posada at Winslow, Arizona, during the mid-1940s.
Fuller also lived near Route 66 in Prewitt, New Mexico, when her husband worked for the railroad.
It turns out the Fuller interview was produced by filmmaker Katrina Parks, who produced a one-hour documentary, “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound.”
Parks’ Vimeo account has interviews with other former Harvey Girls, including Virginia Tellez, Hilda Velarde Salas, Luz Delgadillo Moore, Nina Strong, Beverly Ireland, Bernette Jarvis, Tonie J. Pacheco and Bea Kaundart.
Stephen Fried made a persuasive case in his excellent book, “Appetite for America,” the Harvey Girls helped tame the Wild West. The women prompted miners, cowboys and ruffians at Harvey Houses to be on their most gentlemanly behavior.
It’s good Parks is documenting these women’s stories. The Fred Harvey Company ceased to exist by the late 1960s, so almost any former Harvey Girl is at least 70 years old.
Fried said the Fred Harvey Company was a trail-blazer in restaurant and hospitality industry. Its insistence on professionalism, cleanliness and quality was decades ahead of its time. But the Fred Harvey Company became mortally wounded after two Harvey heirs died within an eight-year period amid the Great Depression.
Fred Harvey’s operation left fingerprints all over the Route 66 corridor. Among the attractions along or near the Mother Road are Union Station in Chicago and St. Louis; La Fonda in Santa Fe; La Castaneda in Las Vegas, New Mexico; El Garces in Needles, California; Casa del Desierto in Barstow, California; Fray Marcos in Williams, Arizona; Painted Desert Inn in Arizona; El Tovar at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim; and La Posada.
(Screen-capture image of Harvey Girls at work from the JoAn Fuller interview)