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Annie - San Francisco, CA

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Tuesday
Jun282011

Postcard: Sunset from Hopi Point, Grand Canyon

"The Grand Canyon is the world's most conspicuous example of erosion. From this point one beholds a mighty chasm eleven miles wide and over a mile deep."

This is an utterly gorgeous postcard that's in mint condition and totally unused...I have no idea how it came to me! To be honest, I find I kind of prefer the used postcards because I love reading the messages and seeing the postmarks - that's the most fascinating part!

Apart from the wonderful psychedelic coloration on this beauty, this postcard is also labeled with the "Fred Harvey Hotels-Shops-Restaurants" signature. As any Judy Garland fan knows, Fred Harvey founded the Harvey Houses all along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, effectively launching America's first restaurant chain in the 1870s. The railway stretched from Chicago to California, carrying passengers to multiple points through the Southwest. (Garland went on to star in the popular MGM musical The Harvey Girls in 1946, all about the culture of the famous Harvey Houses and their scrappy, but charming waitresses.)

In the days before dining cars, train passengers were forced to eat in the roadhouses found along the journey, many of which were somewhat unsavory (both in their fare and their setting.) By setting high standards for food, cleanliness, and service, Harvey brought civility to the "Wild West" of the late 19th Century. Efficient and economical, Harvey Houses were known for serving entire trains full of passengers in under 30 minutes, while they also developed a reputation for value: pies were cut into fourths instead of sixths, etc.

The Harvey Houses endured well into the 20th Century, and today the few that remain are being refurbished, or used as museums of Western heritage.

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