Trading Post Times
The manufacturers of the lightweight souvenir jewelry were located in Colorado, New Mexico,
Kansas City and even New York. The ‘smiths who worked for these companies were given piec-
es to assemble and finish according to prescribed patterns and designs. The symbols used were
“made up” Indian symbols, inspired by the southwestern Native culture, and designed to increase
the mystique and romance of the travel experience and its associated souvenirs. Once the jewelry
was manufactured, the Harvey Company hired local Indians to sell it on the trains, in their shops
and restaurants, and on the famed “Indian Detours” – side trips by “Curiercoach” to visit various
Pueblos along the train route.
Countless pieces of jewelry were produced during the rail-
road era that were exotic and affordable to the Anglo tour-
ist trade. Bracelets, pins, necklaces, and various other tchotchkes, or baubles, were snapped up,
and an entire industry thrived on the romance created by the marketing of the Fred Harvey
Many people are avid collectors of the old railroad era jewelry. One such collector had accu-
mulated over 1,000 pieces of the great old souvenir pieces. Literally boxes of old jewelry, wor-
thy of any museum collection, came our way one day. As we began to go through the boxes,
cataloging and admiring, we reminisced about our own journeys — back when the world was a
little bit slower and there was plenty of time to dream.
The entire Harvey era collection is on display at River Trading Post, Scottsdale.
Select items are available on our River Trading Post website.
The gracious dining car of the
Santa Fe railroad El Capitan
Fred Harvey Indian Detour
Oil by Dennis Ziemienski
“Pill Boxes “
perhaps are the most unusual items in the River Trading Post collec-
tion. The Anglo tourist figured that the only use for these was a place to stash their
pills or snuff. Fact of the matter is that these beautiful containers were actually
intended to carry and sprinkle pollen used in the morning prayers of a Navajo
person while welcoming a new day.
were a hot seller. They were affordable, and something the tourists took
home with them as a remembrance of their visit to the “Wild West where real
Pins and broaches
were very popular back then too.
...and then there were the
for those who wanted a little something
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were the most popular back then, and today over 400 of them have
found their way into our collection. In this collection, we have found every-
thing from hand-made to assembled, from copper to ingot silver, and reconsti-
tuted turquoise to natural old stone.
Old luggage tags
were frequently worn as pendants. Few people know about
these old pieces, and they are pretty rare. These little pieces have been adapted in
recent times to be used as pendants on a silver chain.
Fred Harvey jewelry, Indian jewelry, Railroad jewelry or Souvenir jewelry. No matter what you call
it, it is one of the finest collectables today as a touchstone to another era in our history. Come see it in
Scottsdale or on our website.