Fred Harvey Bernalillo County, New Mexico

The years of 1901 and 1902 were marked by the construction and opening of the handsome new depot of the Santa Fe Railroad at Albuquerque, followed by the opening of the Alvarado Hotel in May, 1902, and of the Indian Museum and Indian and Mexican Building of Fred Harvey in August of the same year. The hotel which is generally considered to be the most picturesque of any of the railroad hotels and eating houses in the world, is of frame, covered with gray stucco, and the architecture is of the so-called "'mission style." South of and connected with the hotel is the Indian and Mexican Building. The building was not designed by the railway company until after the erection of the hotel, was well under way, and when plans for the latter were being made there was no thought on the part of the company or the managers of the great Harvey system of constructing such a pretentious building for the housing of Indian and archaeological collections. This establishment, which has been the general headquarters of the Harvey curio trade since its erection, is the greatest institution of its kind in the world, without doubt. In its general architectural style it is similar to the Alvarado, the ancient California missions furnishing the idea to its architect. Since its opening similar places, though their scale is more limited, have been built at Williams, Arizona (1903), and at El Tovar, at the Grand Canyon of Arizona (1905) the latter being an exact replica of the prehistoric Hopi houses of northeastern Arizona. A remarkable feature of the structure at the Grand Canyon is that it was finished entirely by the Hopi Indians, who were largely employed in its construction also. It is built exactly as these Indians build their own homes, not a nail or a hinge being found in the entire edifice.

Harvey Curio Rooms

The Harvey Curio Rooms contain not only many thousands of dollars' worth of modern Navajo blankets, baskets, pueblo pottery, bead work, silver work, etc., but here are also to be found priceless archaeological treasures, the delight of connoisseurs from all parts of the world. At the present time the building contains about twenty collections, some of them being of more than usual interest, and, indeed, rivaling in point of scientific value those in eastern institutions. A large proportion of the objects of the museum were gathered from the standpoint of a scientific collection. These collections have been constantly added to from time to time, as occasion offers, and are being supplemented by other collections. The museum contains no miscellaneous material, nor material which has not been properly identified, both as to tribe and locality, and this forms the basis of the classification. To characterize adequately the existing collections, would be a task of no small proportion. It will, perhaps, be of greater interest to indicate the regions of North America, which are represented, than to give a categorical list of the collections. In this manner it will be seen that practically all of the great areas of culture in North America are represented by one or more collections and in a more or less adequate manner.

The Eskimo, or Arctic region: This area is represented by a collection secured many years ago from tribes of Alaska, living in the neighborhood of Port Clarence. While the collection may by no means be regarded as complete, the specimens are all genuine and of considerable age. Of special interest are a group of over twenty-five throwing sticks and about twenty Aleut masks. There is also an interesting collection of basketry, comprising about thirty specimens.

The northwest coast: There are four collections from this area. Of these the largest is from the Haida. In addition to a number of interesting old carved and painted chests, feast dishes and spoons, are several specimens of basketry and about fifteen masks, among which are several exceedingly rare and valuable specimens. A collection of carved spoons is of unusual interest, and has been made by selecting only the best specimens from about two hundred. There are also several very interesting and highly carved rattles.

The Tlinkit tribes are represented by over thirty specimens of basketry, all old and of native design, among which are several of unusual merit.

From the Kwakiutl are exhibited about twenty masks worn in ceremonial dances and all genuine and of considerable antiquity.

Columbia basin: The region just south of and adjacent to the northwest coast county is represented by a collection of some fifty Thompson and Frazer river baskets, and about thirty Klikitat baskets, both of unusual merit, and by a collection of about two hundred specimens from the neighborhood of The Dalles. Oregon. In this latter collection are to be found nearly every kind of objects used by these people, including a handsome series of stone specimens, among which are several interesting carvings.

California: In the collection representing California, basketry naturally predominates. The largest of all these collections, and perhaps the most valuable single collection in the entire museum, is that from the Pomo. This collection contains a rare and complete series of objects illustrating the arts and interests of the Pomo and a remarkable collection of Porno baskets, numbering about four hundred specimens and comprising every known form of weave, design and shape, as well as all the traps and appliances used by the Pomo in harvesting, fishing, etc. Of unusual interest in the Pomo collection is a raft-like boat made of tule, bearing a superficial resemblance to the balsa of Lake Titicaca. The second in value only to the Pomo collection, and certainly second in the museum in point of beauty and completeness, is that from the Hupa, who occupy a small valley in the northwest corner of California. In addition to the unusually complete collection illustrating the daily and ceremonial life of the Hupa and an especially interesting series of ceremonial ancient costumes, is a collection of Hupa baskets, numbering about eighty specimens, forming, perhaps, the most valuable collection of Hupa baskets in existence.

Other regions of California are represented by basket collections only; such are the Tulare, Wintum. Maidu, Washoe, Mono, Chimehuevi, etc.

Central Plateau: From this locality is a single collection made from the Paiute Indians of Oregon, which comprises about forty specimens, all typical representatives of a condition which has now entirely disappeared.

The southwest, or Pueblo region: This great area is represented by three collections, that from the Hopi being of considerable magnitude, and importance, and numbering about four hundred specimens. The most valuable single category of objects in this collection is a series of about one hundred and fifty tihus or dolls, among which there are practically no duplicates, and ah of which are carefully identified. In the collection is also a large number of interesting ceremonial masks worn by men representing Hopi deities. Also of unusual value is a complete series of costumes, such as are worn both by men and women in ordinary and ceremonial life. The prehistoric life of the Hopi is represented by an interesting collection of about one hundred ancient earthenware vessels from ruins lying between Holbrook and the Hopi villages of today. Among these specimens are several of rare form and design.

The Navajos, near neighbors of the Hopi, are represented by two collections, both believed to be unique. The first collection comprises about forty ceremonial trays, containing a large number of designs not ordinarily seen in the so-called Navajo ceremonial basket. The second collection and undoubtedly the crowning feature of the Albuquerque collections, both in point of value and of general interest, is the old Navajo blankets, which represent the best and choicest of the thousands of blankets purchased by Fred Harvey during a number of years past. All of these specimens have been selected on account of their age, beauty of design and weave. In addition there have been recently purchased and added to this collection three famous collections that have taken from twenty-five to thirty years in gathering. Those who have viewed the blanket collection declare it to be the finest and largest in existence. This collection was awarded the grand prize at St. Louis Exposition in 1904.

The Great Plains: From this region are collections which illustrate the life of five prominent tribes typical of this great area. First in importance is that from the Arapaho, one of the best known tribes of the plains. This collection is especially noteworthy for the large number of ceremonial objects, such as complete costumes, representing the different orders of the Buffalo Woman's Society and the paraphernalia of the Warrior Societies. These two groups of societies are not exceeded in interest by those of any of the plains tribes.

The Cheyenne, close allies to the Arapaho, are represented by a collection which comprises typical specimens of Cheyenne life of twenty years ago.

The most complete representation of the plains tribes is from the Crow, a prominent member of the Siouan stock, living in Montana. Especially interesting in this collection is a large number of objects manufactured from buffalo skins, such as war medicine shields, medicine pouches and cases, saddle blankets, horse trappings, etc. The Crow collection also includes a large group of objects devoted to medicine.

From the Osage has been secured a collection which is, perhaps, its extensive and as representative as is possible to be made in this tribe today. Of the greatest interest in this collection are two sacred medicine bundles, which it is believed are the only specimens, except one, of this phase of Osage region, to be found in any museum.

There is a single collection from the Sioux proper, gathered from the Ogallala band, probably the largest and best tribe of the Dakota Sioux. This collection consists entirely of the highest types of beaded buckskin objects, and is especially rich in the large number of full-beaded pouches which usually go in pairs, and were extensively used by plains tribes as traveling cases while on the march; today they are used largely as receptacles for clothing in permanent camps. Many of these are made of elk or buffalo hide.

While some of these collections may be regarded as practically finished, yet every effort is being made to increase in efficiency and value each and all of the collections, and it is expected that they will be supplemented by other collections equally important and representative of the culture areas above mentioned.

To add to the attractiveness of the museum and especially to illustrate the manner in which certain ceremonial paraphernalia is employed, there has been installed in the center of the museum a faithful reproduction of the Oraibi snake dance altar. This is neither the most important nor most interesting ceremony among the Hopi, but it is certainly the most spectacular, and has been visited by the greatest number of white visitors, and hence was selected for production. One of the interesting features of the altar is a dry sand mosaic about four feet square, made of concentric squares of four colored bands of sand. Occupying the space and enclosed by these bands are symbols of the mountain lion and of the serpents of the four world quarters. Various accessories of the altar also have been reproduced, such as the bags used by the priests when upon the snake hunt, the jar in which the snakes are confined after being brought into the Kiva or ceremonial chamber, the snake whips used by the priests, both upon the snake hunts and during the public performances, the bull roarers and lightening shooters.

There has also been installed an interesting screen, The Balolokong Kihu, Water Serpent House, which is used by the Hopi in an evening ceremony in their various kivas.

Someone has written, "The crowning feature at Albuquerque, both in point of value and in general interest, is undoubtedly the old Navajo Blanket Collection, the beautiful rose-colored bayettas, the soft old dyes and fine weaves said by experts to have no equal, which represent the best and the choicest of the many blankets purchased by Fred Harvey. In addition there was acquired a year or two ago and added to this collection three other famous collections that have been from twenty-five to thirty years in gathering. Those who have viewed the blanket collection state it is the finest in existence. Rare old Navajo blankets are superior in softness of coloring and quaintness of design to the antique rugs of the Orient. Every year old Oriental rugs are imported in large quantities. The old Navajos are practically extinct." The management of the Albuquerque institution is in the hands of Herman Schweizer, who acts as the direct representative of J. F. Huckel, the general manager. Mr. Schweizer, who has been identified with the Harvey system for ten years, is recognized as one of the authorities on Indian wares and curios in this country. He is a native of Germany, but has resided in this country for seventeen years. Few residents of the southwest are more widely known by eastern tourists. He has been in charge of the Albuquerque house since its establishment.

BackBernalillo County Biographies

Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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