Search

Fred Harvey, An Inspiration

Monday is already here, and I'm still in weekend mode. This weekend, I spent a lot of time reading a book about Fred Harvey called Appetite for America by Stephen Fried. It's really well-written and incredibly inspiring.


Being a one-person show running this business, can feel isolating at times. I have the support of my family and friends, of course, but I don't have a lot of people in my circle who are doing what I'm doing. You can only talk to your husband so many times about what you want to change, improve upon, or eliminate before you start to feel like a broken record.

When I read biographies like this one, I can relate to some of his struggles, or at least understand my own bumps in the road. Fred Harvey was obviously in a league of his own, seized every opportunity, and was at the forefront of some major changes within the US.


If you've never heard of Fred Harvey, he was an entrepreneur who emigrated from England to the US in 1853. To put things into perspective, he lived through the American Civil War and before New Mexico had even become a state. The whole Midwest was the furthest 'West' that many Americans had come, they were building trains to establish new methods of communication and transport, and everything beyond Kansas was uncharted territory. He was a pioneer in so many ways, but mostly in establishing luxury train travel across the US. He developed something called the Harvey Houses, and you can read the Wikipedia entry by clicking here.


Fred Harvey's story is inspiring because he was going into uncharted territory both as a business-owner and as an American citizen. As a business-owner, he came up with an idea that train travel could be luxurious, offer fine cuisine, and could provide good hospitality. Before him, hospitality was not really a concept and he was the one who established the norms. As an American citizen, his train went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was completely unknown. What was incredible about him was that he hired women, the Harvey girls, so that they had an opportunity to travel while also being able to have some sort of financial independence, and work a respectable job. He died in 1901, and New Mexico had officially become a state in 1912. I'm nowhere near to finishing the book, but his presence is everywhere in New Mexico and the Southwest and his story is already inspiring me.


Times are very different, and everyone has their own circumstances, but I feel like we're on the brink of some major changes here both within the US and worldwide. Even though the internet has been around for decades, it has never before been so prevalent in our lives. This is uncharted territory, so how do we make our mark?


Life after the pandemic with so much social unrest, how do implement positive change within our businesses and pioneer a new way of including and accepting one another? I keep having this feeling like I haven't yet tapped into this bigger dream, but then I'm also like, "but this is just jewelry," which is a very limiting thought. How do you expand? Because the time is now. The time is now to seize opportunity and change. To step into those grandiose dreams, and make things from a place of love and compassion and positive change.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post, and happy Monday everyone.

Take care,

Caitlin