Monday, September 17, 2007

Lot of love left for Seligman's threatened Harvey House

[Source: Connie Midey, Arizona Republic] -- A century ago, the now-abandoned Havasu Harvey House in Seligman offered repose to rail travelers, fed hungry townsfolk and satisfied the adventurous spirits of its staff and of pioneers pressing westward. It also nurtured love. The former restaurant and hotel, built about 1905, is where Don Gray's grandparents met in 1915. Clara Stork was a Harvey Girl, one of the young women hired by the Fred Harvey Co. to work as waitresses at Harvey Houses along Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway routes. She and a friend persuaded their parents to let them leave their homes in Wisconsin to take the jobs in Seligman. Charles A. Greenlaw Jr., the son of a Flagstaff pioneer, owned a garage in Seligman and dined at the then-bustling town's Harvey House.

"My grandparents met there, fell in love and married, and my mother was born," says Gray, 58, who lives in Lake Havasu City. "I owe my life to that house, and now they're going to demolish it." Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, successor to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, has decided to take down the building, Burlington spokeswoman Lena Kent confirmed on Wednesday, but "not this year, and we don't even know if it will be in 2008 yet." Gray is not the only one saddened by the thought of losing a piece of history. Mary Clurman, who lives outside the town proper, says the informal Friends of Havasu has found three potential investors and hopes at least part of the property can be restored, as was La Posada Harvey House in Winslow.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Dan Lutzick.]