Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Union Station's Harvey House

The Harvey House Restaurant opened with Los Angeles' Union Station 1939. This was the last Harvey House built as part of a railroad station, and it was designed by Mary Colter. The restaurant closed in 1967, unable to turn a profit as rail transportation slowly declined.

This picture gives the "waitress perspective." It's taken from behind the counter, looking out towards the station lobby. Everything's original, including the cork on the far wall, which was made from recycled corncobs. And those tres deco objects on the wall are speakers, so that patrons could hear announcements for train departures.

Now the Harvey House is only used in movies (think of the police station in Bladerunner) and for private parties.

A Harvey House fan site has some pictures of how it looked during the operational years. (Scroll down to find Los Angeles alphabetically in the California list.) "Legends of America" maintains an extensive history of the Harvey House restaurants, with a section on the Los Angeles Union Station (again, you must scroll down to it).

The picture above right shows the tooled leather partitions, a bit of the bright floor, and a wood and tile wait-station. The original wall tiles are in the background--if you look close, you can see the parrots.

The last picture is of the bar, hidden away in a room off to the side, its copper still gleaming.


lucindamichele said...

Vix, I want to let you know I love this post and it helped me flesh out a lot more of Union Station's history. I've quoted you & used one of your photos here-- and hope that we get lots of folks clicking thru to your blog.

PJ in LA said...

I think the police station in Bladerunner was filmed in the old ticket concourse, to the left of Traxx:

Don L. Kirk said...

At the time they refurbished the terminal, I offered to lease the Harvey House to reopen it as a Harvey House; but the people back then said no. It was probably going to become something else. Well, that's several decades and it still is sitting empty. I still would love to lease it and as far as that goes all Harvey House buildings that have not been gutted.