The Harvey House was built in 1912 as a place where Sante Fe train passengers could grab a quick bite to eat. They were served, not by waitresses, but by "Harvey Girls."
Rose Farschon is 92 years-old and lives in Slaton. She's a transplant from Nebraska and stayed in Slaton because of her job at the Harvey House. Rose was a Harvey girl in 1936, and lived at the Harvey House like the other girls. Today, she's the oldest living Harvey girl in Slaton.
"I loved it. It was interesting. We fed the morning train every day and you met new people every day," said Rose.
The Harvey House in Slaton was one of many first class restaurants along the Sante Fe passenger line invented by Fred Harvey. This was the place that used only the best silver, fine crystal, white linens and served quality beef and seafood to train passengers.
Harvey girls served the food in pristine white aprons and black long sleeved shirts. They also lived on the top floor of the Harvey House with strict curfews. "The people I worked with were more like a family," said Rose.
Before passengers arrived to the Harvey House to be fed, Rose says the train conductor would take orders and wire in a count of people the Harvey girls could expect. "And then when the train was about a mile away, they whistled and we knew to be on alert," she said.
Rose says the Harvey girls had to serve the food quickly because the passengers only had 20 minutes to eat before boarding again.
Tony Privett remembers going to the Harvey House as a little boy. He is now the president of the Slaton Railroad Heritage Association; the group who rescued the house from demolition 14 years ago.
"Slaton was started by the Sante Fe. It [the Harvey House] is the last original remaining building," said Privett. He, along with many others, are working to restore the building back to its original state. The large horse shoe shaped dining table will be put back in place on the first floor, and a bed and breakfast will be built on the second floor, where the Harvey girls used to sleep many moons ago.
The museum at the Harvey house is scheduled to open next year. The bed and breakfast will open the following year. If you would like to donate or volunteer at the Harvey House you can call the Slaton Chamber of Commerce at 828-6238 .