Harvery House Museum - FLorence, Kansas
In 1877, Fred Harvey bought the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas for $5,370. Harvey redecorated the hotel and restaurant and early in 1878, the second in what would become a chain of Harvey House Restaurant opened in Florence - the first Harvey House wto offer sleeping accommodations in addition to a restaurant.
In 1879-80, three trains passed through Florence daily, with an average of fifty passengers each, who would dine at Fred Harvey's restaurant. Meals for train passengers cost 75 cents, while train crew paid only 25 cents.
The hotel was a success and Fred Harvey expanded the hotel in 1879. Eventually it measured 30' by 130'.
In time the railroads added dining cars and Pullman cars and fewer passengers stopped at the Florence Harvey House. The last train to be fed was March 31, 1900.
The Clifton Hotel/Harvey House was divided into sections, and two portions were moved to other parts of Florence. IN April 1971, the Florence Historical Society purchased the remaining wing of the building and six lots. Today's Harvey House Museum is in beautiful condition. The building is only open by appointment, but the members of the HIstorical Society are delighted to show the Harvey House to individuals or groups of any size.
You may even schedule a group meal in the Harvey House Museum, served by costumed "Harvey House Girls." The menu is relish plate, French coleslaw, roast sirloin of Beef Au Jus, Fred Harvey whipped potatoes, beef gravy, Asparagus, fresh baked rolls, raspberry preserves, Charlotte of peaches, sweet whipped cream, assorted cheese & fruit tray, coffee, tea, and milk.
Other than by appointment, the only day of the year that the Harvey House Museum is open to the public, is the Saturday before the 4th of July. On that day, the Harvey House serves a picnic meal of fried catfish and mountain oysters, with side dishes and desert.
copyright 2007-2010 by Keith Stokes