HARVEY GIRLS: It All Began in Topeka

Well before he decided hiring female waitresses was the way to go, Fred Harvey bought his first place at the Topeka Depot. It was a lunch counter for ten customers. Harvey shut it down, remodeled including painting the interior with soft southwestern colors and adding gas light fixtures, linen tablecloths and sparkling flatware and china.
He offered a varied menu and large portions at a fair price. A full breakfast that featured eggs, steak, pancakes and hash browns with butter and syrup, and of course, his famous coffee for just thirty-five cents.According to THE HARVEY GIRLS: The Women Who Civilized the West (by Juddi Morris, NY: Walker and Co., 1994) among his first customers was a group of Plains Indians. Harvey welcomed them as he would any customer, although according to Morris, other patrons ‘gave them a wide berth.’
This small lunch counter was the beginning. Soon Fred Harvey was opening similar eateries all across the West.