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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Who is Fred Harvey and Why is He at the Cajon Pass?

The number in the bottom left corner of this post card is H-2066. That gave me a hint that this might be a Fred Harvey post card printed by a third party. The name of the copyright holder in the bottom right corner confirmed that it was, indeed, a Fred Harvey post card.
Harvey began a business venture of setting up restaurants along the Kansas Pacific Railroad with Jeff Rice in 1873. It didn’t survive; but, Fred realized that this was to be his life’s work. 1876 he struck a deal with an acquaintance, Charles Morse. Harvey opened eating houses rent free along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad – of which Mr. Morse was the superintendent. The deal was sealed only with a handshake, but it would have huge ramifications for both parties. At its peak, there were 84 Harvey Houses, all of which catered to wealthy and middle-class visitors alike and Harvey became known as "the Civilizer of the West." They continued to be built and operated into the 1960s. Harvey was the head of the Fred Harvey Company, which operated the hotel and restaurant chain under the leadership of his sons and grandsons until 1965. When Fred Harvey died there were 47 Harvey House restaurants, 15 hotels, and 30 dining cars operating on the Santa Fe Railway.
Fred Harvey was also a postcard publisher, touted as "the best way to promote your Hotel or Restaurant." Most postcards were published in co-operation with the Detroit Publishing Company.
The title of the post card is “CAJON PASS AT THE SUMMIT OF THE COAST RANGE, CALIFORNIA” Cajon Pass is a mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California in the United States. It was created by the movements of the San Andreas Fault. In 1851, a group of Mormon settlers led by Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich traveled through the Cajon Pass in covered wagons on their way from Salt Lake City to southern California.
The California Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, was the first railroad to use the Cajon Pass as a route through the mountains. The rail line through the pass was built in the early 1880s as part of a connection between the present day cities of Barstow and San Diego. Today the Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway (the successor to the Santa Fe) use the pass to reach Los Angeles and San Bernardino. Due to the many trains, noteworthy scenery and easy access, it is a popular location for railfans, and numerous photographs of trains on Cajon Pass appear in books and magazines about trains. The current Amtrak Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief passenger train travels through the pass.
The post card was printed for Fred Harvey by the Detroit Publishing Company. Originally a printer of religious books and calendars, the Detroit Photographic Company Ltd. shifted production in 1897 when owners William A. Livingstone and Edwin H. Husher saw the potential in postcards. After negotiations with Orell Fussli, Detroit became the sole American company to license the Swiss photochrom process, which they would eventually register in 1907 under the name Phostint. Series H1199 to H4160 were contract cards printed from 1901-1932 for Fred Harvey. By 1904 as postcards sales increased to 7 million per year they changed their name to the Detroit Publishing Company. They produced postcards on a great variety of subjects but they are best known for their view-cards. The quality of their cards are considered some of the finest produced in America. They also printed many contract cards whose numbers increased as ordinary sales began to fall. Detroit went into receivership in 1924 but printed contract cards until 1932.
The fact that is was printed by the Detroit Publishing not the Detroit Photographic Company tells us that this card is from after 1904; but, the white border tells us that it is from after 1915. Unfortunately, someone removed the stamp, which took the year of the cancellation with it.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.