Category: Grand Canyon

The Best Unknown Architect Was a Woman!

MargaretBrownley-header

Mary ColterThe heroine in my latest book Calico Spy is a Pinkerton detective working undercover as a Harvey Girl. Last month I wrote about Fred Harvey and how he saved early train travelers from food poisoning.

This month I want to draw your attention to Mary Colter, the woman who designed many of his hotels and restaurants. At a time when traveling was expensive and people traveled only out of necessity, she helped introduce the concept of traveling just for pleasure and that’s not all she did.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1862, she attended the California School of Design at the tender age of seventeen. She planned to support her mother and sister by teaching art. While attending school, she apprenticed as an architect.

At the time, architecture was going through great changes. Instead of emulating European styles, a new type of California architecture was in the works and Mary was influenced by this new Mission-type of design. She also believed in replicating nature by utilizing natural materials in her designs.

Hopi

Mary designed this to house native American craftsmen and their wares.

After graduating in 1890, she returned to St. Paul and taught art at the Mechanic Arts High School.

She was hired by the Fred Harvey company in 1902 as an interior decorator. In the early days, Fred Harvey collected Indian art and she encouraged the company to expand on this concept. She was instrumental in reaching out to Native American craftsmen and bringing their wares into the Harvey hotel shops. This was a daring venture as the Indian Wars were still ongoing in some parts of the country, but somehow she persuaded visitors to purchase tribal pottery, blankets and jewelry—quite a feat given the times.

Watchtower

This was an engineering feat and was lined with steel for safety.

 

 

Eventually, Mary became the chief architect of the Fred Harvey company. The idea of a woman playing such a role in a company was unthinkable, and it wasn’t easy. She clashed with family members who carried on after Fred’s death, but eventually won them over.

Never heard of her? There’s a good reason for that. Architecture was a male dominated profession, and Mary was not credited as architect on the buildings she designed. As a result, she never gained the same recognition as many her peers such as Frank Lloyd Wright. She has been called the best unknown architect of the Southwest.

Some of Mary’s work includes the Indian Watchtower at Desert View; Lookout Studio; Hopi House; Hermit’s Rest and Painted in Painted Desert. La Posada in Winslow, Arizona was her favorite.

Historic Park Inn HotelPosada

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, you decide; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Park Inn Hotel is on the left and Mary’s La Posada hotel  is on the right.  Many think that had Mary been a man she would be better known today.  What do you think?

Working Undercover is No Job for A Lady!

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Updated: February 20, 2016 — 1:31 pm

The Harvey Girls

Cynthia

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Cynthia is giving away a copy of An unconventional Lady

to one lucky responder.

(Sorry, due to postage and customs, giveaway is for US only.)

*Due to technical difficulties on Saturday, we invited Cynthia to extend her stay at the Junction through Monday. So you still have time to get in the drawing for her fabulous new book. YeeHaw!

Scottish immigrant, Fred Harvey, was disgusted by the service and food preparation by restaurants along the Santa Fe railroad and decided to make a difference. He opened his first location in Kansas and restaurant service along the railroad would never be the same. Harvey was known for hiring local contractors to make the hotels fit their surroundings.

 

Harvey advertised in Eastern and Mid-western newspapers and magazines for single moral women between the ages of seventeen and thirty to be waitresses in his Harvey Houses. Over one hundred thousand women worked in his employ until the mid-1950s. While the women were told what to wear, what to do, how to wear their hair, and not to marry during their six-month contract, these brave women loved their independence. Over half of them chose to stay out west and help settle the country after their contracts were up, earning them the name “Women Who Tamed the West”.untitled

 

The women had to be of good moral character, have at least an eighth grade education, display good manner and be neat and articulate to work in his restaurants. In return for employment, the Harvey Girls would agree to a six-month contract, agree not to marry, and abide by all company rules during the term of employment. If hired, they were given a rail pass to get to their chosen destination. Harvey Girls were the women who brought further respectability to the work of waitressing. They left the protection and poverty of home for the opportunity to travel and earn their own way in life, while experiencing a bit of adventure.

 

untitled 2I chose to write a series of four books, spread out over the time span of the Fred Harvey Company to enlighten readers as to these brave, hard-working women. In An Unconventional Lady, the story takes place at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. This hotel is still running today with its waitresses still dressed in the familiar uniform of Harvey girls.

 

www.cynthiahickey.com

Multi-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

An Unconventional Lady cover

Updated: April 7, 2014 — 8:49 am

My Southwest Vacation – And A Giveaway!

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  Last month I told you about our planned family vacation to the southwest part of the country.  Well, this month I thought I’d share a little of what we saw and did while we were there.

The first stop on our trip was Vegas and it was the only destination where all 12 of us were in attendance.  Here is a picture of the whole crew shortly after we arrived. 

Several of us were not really into the whole casino thing but there were lots of other things to do.  Our first night we went to see Jersey Boys – great musical!!  The next day we went out to tour the Hoover Dam.  It was an amazing place and I learned lots of interesting and fun facts – some day soon I’ll do an entire blog on it.

 In the photos below, the picture on the right shows me and hubby standing at the state line – hubby is in Nevada and I’m in Arizona.

Another place we visited was the Ethel M Chocolate Factory.  I didn’t get any pictures of it – too busy sampling the wares :).  But there was a beautiful cactus garden next door, and I did take several picture there.

 When we left Vegas, two of our number – my brother and his wife – headed home.  My two daughters stayed over an extra half day but eventually connected back up with us at the Grand canyon.  So there were eight of us  in two cars traveling together.   The scenery for our drive was amazing and  we made a couple of roadside stops to enjoy the view.  Here we are at one of them.

 

 Next stop was the Grand Canyon and WOW!  It was everything I’d heard it was and more.  My sister scored us reservations at Bright Angel Lodge which was literally right on the rim.  Here is the amazing view I had when I stepped outside my cabin.  (Just wished they would have trimmed the bushes).

 

I was told that pictures really can’t do justice to the Grand Canyon, and I now believe that.  But of course I took a whole slew of them anyway :).  Here’s some of the sunrise.

 

And here are a few others I couldn’t resist showing you

 

 When we left the Grand Canyon we lost two other members of our group – my daughters spent an extra half day there and then headed home.  For those of us still roadtripping, our next stop was Sedona.  Again, fabulous scenery everywhere you looked.  We took a ‘Pink Jeep’ tour and had a fabulous time – our tour guide was really entertaining!

 

Of course I have tons more pictures but I’ve probably given you much more than you wanted already :).

So now, on to the giveaway!  I learned just a couple of weeks ago that my September release, Handpicked Husband, was nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award!!!  I’m super excited and very honored to be in such august company as the other nominees.  So to celebrate, I’ll be giving away a copy to two of today’s commenter.

Here’s a short blurb of the book:

Can she drive away not one, but three suitors?

 Free-spirited photographer Regina Nash is ready to try.  But unless she marries one of the gentlemen her grandfather has sent for her inspection, she’ll lose custody of her nephew.  So she must persuade them – and Adam Barr, her grandfather’s envoy – that she’d make a thoroughly unsuitable wife.

Adam isn’t convinced. Regina might be unconventional, but she has wit, spirit and warmth – why can’t the three bachelors he escorted here to Texas see that?  He not only sees it, but is drawn to it.   His job, though, is to make sure Regina chooses from one of those men – not to marry her himself!

 Can Reggie and Adam overcome the secrets in her past, and the shadows in his, to find a perfect future together?

 

Updated: November 19, 2012 — 2:27 pm
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