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Barstow Harvey House facts for kids

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Barstow, CA
Harvey House Rail Depot
The depot in 2006
Other names Barstow Harvey House
Location 685 North 1st Avenue
Barstow, California 92311
United States
Coordinates 34°54′17″N 117°01′29″W / 34.90472°N 117.02472°W / 34.90472; -117.02472
Owned by City of Barstow/BNSF
Line(s) BNSF Railway Southern Transcon
Platforms 1 side platform
(others out of service)
Tracks Only 1 passing siding and 1 through track remaining
Parking Free
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code Amtrak code: BAR
Opened February 22, 1911
Passengers (2017) 3,509 Increase 11.3% (Amtrak)
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Victorville Southwest Chief Needles
toward Chicago
Former services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Victorville Desert Wind
Las Vegas
toward Chicago
San Bernardino Las Vegas Limited
Las Vegas
Preceding station Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Following station
Lenwood Main Line Daggett
toward Chicago
Trackage rights via Southern Pacific Railroad
toward Oakland
Oakland – Barstow Terminus
Harvey House Railroad Depot
Area 1.1 acres (0.4 ha)
Architect Francis W. Wilson
Architectural style Santa Fe
NRHP reference No. 75000458
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 3, 1975

Barstow Harvey House, also known as Harvey House Railroad Depot and Barstow station, is a historic building in Barstow, California. Originally built in 1911 as Casa del Desierto, a Harvey House hotel and Santa Fe Railroad depot, it currently serves as an Amtrak station and government building housing city offices, the Barstow Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, and two museums.

History and architecture

Casa del Desierto, Barstow, California
Casa del Desierto shortly after construction

The Casa del Desierto station and hotel was built in 1911 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to replace an earlier one built in 1885 that burned in 1908. The Santa Fe closed the station in 1973. It became derelict until bought by the City of Barstow, and rebuilt following heavy damage in a 1992 earthquake.

The building is a synthesis of Spanish Renaissance and Classical Revival architecture styles, with a Moorish feeling as well. The concrete frame is faced with red tapestry brick and beige artificial stone. Majestic arcades and colonnades line the facade, providing shade from the desert sun. Red clay barrel tiles are used to cover the roof. Towers at the building's corners, and those of the central projecting bay facing the tracks, are capped with pointed roofs or painted domes.

Francis W. Wilson is the architect credited by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Park Service. Amtrak's Great American Stations site says that "according to contemporary accounts, the Casa del Desierto ... was designed by Francis W. Wilson of Santa Barbara, Calif." Earlier Wilson had designed the Fray Marcos hotel in Williams, Arizona, and El Garces in Needles for the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey.

The historic structure is the finest remaining depot-hotel in California, an elegant presence in the Mojave Desert beside the intermittent Mojave River. In the 1950s, the Barstow Harvey House was listed in the Green Book guide of business establishments that were friendly to African-American motorists.


Casa del Desierto was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and designated as a California Historical Landmark in 1976.

Restoration and museums

The City of Barstow obtained the station in 1990. After restoration and more than $8 million in repairs to earthquake damage, several city offices moved into the building. The Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center also operates out of the former Harvey House. Other public institutions located here are the Western America Railroad Museum on the east side and the Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum on the north side.

Platforms and tracks

1–2  Southwest Chief toward Los Angeles (Victorville)
 Southwest Chief toward Chicago (Needles)
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