View From the Plaza

Celebrating the Women Who Welcomed Travelers West

This past weekend the New Mexico History Museum hosted An Evening with the Harvey Girls - a fundraiser featuring the new documentary film, The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound and a reception here at La Fonda. There were over 200 people in attendance, buzzing with a handful of former Harvey Girls.
Hilda Velarde Salas was a Harvey Girl at the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque. She traveled from Los Angeles to Santa Fe with 18 family members to attend the "Evening with the Harvey Girls" event.

Hilda Velarde Salas was a Harvey Girl at the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque. She traveled from Los Angeles to Santa Fe with 18 family members to attend the “Evening with the Harvey Girls” event.

As many of you already know, La Fonda was one of the famed Harvey Houses and it was as a Harvey House in the 1920’s that La Fonda originally expanded from an estimated 44-55 rooms to 156 rooms.  The Harvey Girls were an integral part of Harvey’s vision of western hospitality and of the gentile and efficient service offered here at La Fonda. The last of our Harvey Girls retired in 2010 after 44 years of working at the hotel!
Twin sisters Bernette Jarvis and Beverly Ireland are joined by Gloria Jimenez. All three women were Harvey Girls at La Fonda in Santa Fe in the 1950s.

Twin sisters Bernette Jarvis and Beverly Ireland are joined by Gloria Jimenez. All three women were Harvey Girls at La Fonda in Santa Fe in the 1950s.

The reception at our La Terraza, featured Harvey House-inspired hors d’oeuvres designed by our own Chef Lane Warner and guests were given tours of our newly renovated rooms. Many of our staff members served as room ambassadors, pointing out the original artwork and answering questions about the history and design of La Fonda.
photograph by Daniel Quat

The reception at La Terraza, La Fonda on the Plaza. Photograph by Daniel Quat

The evening was a rare opportunity to watch the history of the Harvey Girls on the silver screen and meet some of them in person after!
The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound is Katrina Parks’ first full-length directorial debut. Katrina says that the film project was really about the right people coming together at the right time to preserve history and for her, the film is a living history – people can still come out west to visit and experience an amazing journey.
For those of you who were unable to attend, I have good news.  The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound will be broadcast by more than a dozen PBS stations. Check your local listings or check out the film’s website for the schedule announcement.

One Response to “Celebrating the Women Who Welcomed Travelers West”

  1. Sherry Davis

    The new restored Ann Colter decor in the rooms at La Fonda are out-of-this-world! Very beautiful. Many of us from Santa Fe are thinking of booking a romantic weekend just to experience the glory of another era. And the Harvey House inspired hors d’oeuvres were out-of-this-world, A stunning party all around! Thank you La Fonda! We’ll call it an extension of the New Mexico History Museum!

    Reply

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