About the Harvey House
Construction of the Santa Fe Eating House managed by the Fred Harvey Company began in June 1901. It opened with great fanfare on the first of September that year.
Surprisingly, even though the Desert Power & Water Company became operational in July 1909, the restaurant continued using coal oil lamps until 1912. Electrifying the building was the first in a series of improvements and expansion programs.
In early 1917 construction commenced on a full remodel. This included the addition of a twenty-five-foot dining hall on the north side facing Front Street. An article published in the Daily Miner noted that, quote, “Work on the new dining room of the local Harvey House will be commenced in the next few weeks and rushed to completion. The cutting out of diners on passenger trains will compel the feeding of train passengers at this point and the railroad people are preparing for this contingency.”
Even though it benefitted from being located on Route 66 and at a busy railroad stop, the Great Depression greatly curtailed business. As a result, it closed in 1932. There was a brief reopening in 1936, and then it closed again until 1942.
That year it was refurbished and reopened to serve as a temporary headquarters for the newly commissioned Kingman Army Airfield. The American Red Cross also operated it as temporary dormitory for arriving cadets.
With completion of the airbase, in 1943 the old eating house was again repurposed. Operated by USO it served as a social and service hall, and as a dormitory for troops passing through Kingman. USO continued using the facility through 1945.
After a brief closure it was leased by the American Legion. An electrical fire in 1952 destroyed the buildings interior. Assessment of damages determined that it was structurally unsound and as a result was razed before the end of the year.