Fast Food That Won the West

Decades before McDonalds could boast of billions sold, Kansas transplant Fred Harvey built an empire on “the first national chain of anything”. In 1905, his railroad depot restaurants sold 6.48 million eggs and two million pounds of beef.

Aside from the first national chain of restaurants, Harvey also built the very first national chain of hotels, and the first chain of bookstores, and helped make the Grand Canyon a premier tourist destination.

The fascinating story of Fred Harvey is recapitulated in Jonathan Eig’s review of Stephen Fried’s Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire that Civilized the West. Read Fast Food That Won the West in the Wall Street Journal, and you’ll want to read the book.

'Harvey Girl' in Emporia, Kansas (University of Arizona Library)

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Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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