Fred Harvey Restaurant (former) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Vintage postcard from L.A. Conservancy archives.

Fred Harvey Restaurant (former)

Fred Harvey restaurants were once a famous chain of eateries that served railroad depots. Part of the chain's mystique were the Harvey Girls, the proper young women who came west to work in the restaurants and, in the process, civilized rowdy towns. Harvey Girls were immortalized on the silver screen in the 1946 film The Harvey Girls starring Judy Garland. The song “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” which she sang in the film, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Mary Colter, best known for designing many of the buildings at the Grand Canyon, designed the Fred Harvey restaurant at L.A.’s Union Station. Like Union Station itself, the former restaurant features both Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco designs, but also incorporates Southwestern elements, including the floor, which was designed to resemble a Navajo rug. Its distinct tiled walls display a parrot motif; Valencia Spanish Tile Company manufactured these tiles especially for this building.

The restaurant at Union Station opened in 1939 and closed in 1967. It was only used for filming and special events until October 2018, when it reopened as the Imperial Western Beer Company.

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