China, silverware and a new painting now on display in Union Station recall the Harvey House restaurants that millions of rail passengers experienced during the mid 20th century.
The items can be viewed on the east side of the station’s grand hall, near the space that once housed Union Station’s Harvey House.
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The watercolor painting, depicting a period scene from the restaurant chain’s heyday, was commissioned from regional artist Marlin Rotach. It shows diners in the space that now serves as the boardroom of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
The painting is titled “Homage to Hopper — Harvey House” because the artist was inspired in part by Edward Hopper’s paintings from the 1920s to the 1940s.
“I believe the initial goal was achieved, to show contemporary viewers the vitality that was the Union Station Harvey House,” Rotach said in a statement.
The Harvey House restaurants were the creation of Fred Harvey, who ran his company from an office within Union Station.
The dinnerware on display is part of a collection of about 300 pieces of china and silverware.
They include items used in Harvey House restaurants on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway system as well as the Kansas City Southern Railroad.
The items and the painting are a gift to Union Station from the Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation.
Michael Haverty is president of the board of Union Station Kansas City and executive chairman of Kansas City Southern.
Denise Morrison, director of collections and curatorial services at Union Station, welcomed the china collection.
“These pieces are so collectible today that it would have been impossible for us to gather this type of collection on our own,” she said.