Barstow Harvey House

Coordinates: 34°54′17″N 117°01′29″W / 34.90472°N 117.02472°W / 34.90472; -117.02472
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barstow, CA
The depot in 2006
General information
Other namesBarstow Harvey House
Harvey House Rail Depot
Location685 North 1st Avenue
Barstow, California[1]
United States
Coordinates34°54′17″N 117°01′29″W / 34.90472°N 117.02472°W / 34.90472; -117.02472
Owned byCity of Barstow/BNSF
Line(s)BNSF Southern Transcon
Platforms1 side platform
(others out of service)
TracksOnly 1 passing siding and 1 through track remaining
ConnectionsBus transport Amtrak Thruway: 10
Other information
Station codeAmtrak: BAR
OpenedFebruary 22, 1911
FY 20221,959[2] (Amtrak)
Preceding station Amtrak Following station
Victorville Southwest Chief Needles
toward Chicago
Former services
Preceding station 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
toward Richmond
Valley Division Terminus
Harvey House Railroad Depot
Area1.1 acres (0.4 ha)
ArchitectFrancis W. Wilson
Architectural styleSanta Fe
NRHP reference No.75000458[3]
CHISL No.892[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 3, 1975
Designated CHISL1976

The 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[edit]

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 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.[5] 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.[6]

The historic structure is the finest remaining depot-hotel in California,[4] 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.[7][page needed]

The Santa Fe closed the station in 1973. Casa del Desierto was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975,[3] and designated as a California Historical Landmark in 1976.[4] It became derelict until bought by the City of Barstow, and rebuilt following heavy damage in a 1992 earthquake.

The City of Barstow bought 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Barstow, CA (BAR)". Amtrak. Retrieved 11 Jan 2014.
  2. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2022: State of California" (PDF). Amtrak. June 2023. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Harvey House". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 13 Oct 2012.
  5. ^ Survey, Historic American Buildings. "Casa Del Desierto, 685 North First Avenue, Barstow, San Bernardino County, CA". Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Barstow, CA (BAR)". Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Taylor, Candacy (2020). Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America. New York: Abrams. ISBN 978-1419738173.

External links[edit]

Media related to Harvey House Railroad Depot at Wikimedia Commons