NEEDLES was founded in 1883....
NEEDLES was founded in 1883. It was one of the oldest living communities on the Colorado River, rich in history and promise for the future. The growth of Needles has been influenced by the river, Santa Fe Railroad, Route 66, the Fort Mojave Indians and perhaps most of all by the climate.
This place is quite amazing! Apparently this site is featured in the film Gattica.
From the CLUI site: This is the largest, in output, commercial solar power plant in the world, generating around 160 megawatts at its peak. It is one of three separately owned sites within 40 miles of one another, that make up the nine solar fields in the Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS). Harper Lake was the last of these built, and is designated as SEGS 8 and 9. Together the facilities can generate about 354 megawatts at peak output, comprising mostof the commercial solar power currently produced worldwide. These solar facilities are referred to as "advantageous peak facilities", as they operate at their peak when it is sunniest, which is also when local power requirements are greatest, due to increased air conditioning demand. The facilities regulate their power supply through the use of supplemental natural gas fueled electric generating plants. This plant was built on top of the remains of the aircraft R&D area at Harper Lake, which included facilities owned by Howard Hughes, and Northrop, which tested flying wing aircraft out of Harper Lake. Also on the grounds of the Solar Plant (and razed for the construction of the plant) is the site of much of the town of Lockhart, which was known for its beef cattle industry.
Visitation Information: Not open to the public, but the fenced-off arrays are visible from public roads. Located on the south west edge of Harper Dry Lake, at the end of Harper Lake Road, a few miles north of Route 58. Ruins of ranches surround the plant, and on the north-west side of the plant is a ruin of an additional solar plant that was never finished.
Train Park - Harvey House
This is located just outside the Harvey House and has some other really neat historic trains to see. Has a lovely little garden to enjoy and relax in too!
681 N. First Avenue, Barstow, CA. 92311
Directions: Take I-15 north to Barstow, exit "L" Street, left at the end of the off-ramp to "L" Street, right on West Main Street (Route 66!), follow West to First Avenue, turn left on First Avenue. Once you hit the beautiful Iron Bridge you cannot miss it!
"Home of Harvey House, Route 66, and Trains"
Since I could drive, Barstow was a much needed to stop on the way to Vegas. Back then traffic was not bad at all if anything it was very few vehicles that ventured the 58 or 395 to get to Interstate 15. Now days, it’s practically bumper to bumper going to and from.
I hope Barstow has profited from the tourist passing through this very historical town and probably not really knowing what they are missing if they don’t now days. Route 66 brought many tourists this way and now many come to experience those past memories of a bygone era. Heck, I remember the funky tourist attractions of teepees, giant dinosaurs, and all those so called cheesy trinkets shops that lured many travelers along the way. I loved them and still do! My dad was a very fun, loving father who was my best friend too. He loved to explore, but when it came to getting us to our destination on a specific day, he was determined. Yet, my mother always took pity on our puppy dog frowns when something caught our eye along our yearly travels, she’d use the excuse we all need to make a Jane stop. Ha, my dad was sharp when it came to this tactics, but his reasoning would soften for making the stop. Of course by the time he did give in we were miles down the road and he had to turn around all awhile sounding like Ricky Ricardo….lol! We’d all scoot down on our seats giggling every time.
Barstow started as a rail road stop called Calico Junction along the Southern Pacific Railroad from Mojave to Daggett around 1880’s. Calico mountains brought many miners for a rich deposit of silver and borax. Twenty mules team were used to haul just the ore from Daggett to Calico. Around 1888 the town was named after the president William Barstow Strong not soon after the Santa Fe line arrived.
Unfortunately the silver mines were becoming a bust around 1896. Yet, borax was still lucrative in the millions well into 1902. While Calico and Daggett was become ghost towns, Barstow grew with having a very busy prosperous railhead. Then Route 66 also brought many travelers either from passing through or capturing those searching for promise of work and a home. Do any of you remember either reading the book or seeing the movie adaptation “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck? I do and they are both one of my favorites. It will remind you with some of the hardships the Oakies endured from the dust bowl era. My mom does because she grew up in Oklahoma during those difficult times. It has been said John Steinbeck stayed in Barstow a day while passing through writing this novel.
Barstow is home to one of the famed Harvey House that was rebuilt in 1911 after the original 1887 building burned down in 1902. It still stands along the rail road to the testament of a once bygone era providing passengers with rest, food, and company. They almost lost this building, but some frisky saviors saw fit to save her and she is truly a beautiful building. It is being lovingly restored and utilized by the city of Barstow and houses their chamber of commerce, Route 66 Museum and the Western America Railroad Museum.
Do you remember Judy Garland “The Harvey Girls”? I do and grew listening to all the greats of the musical era.
"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe"
~Sung by Judy Garland~
~Music by Harry Warren~
~Lyrics by Johnny Mercer~
High Desert Community
A railway town since its founding, Barstow is now a city of 21,000 people. In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in town and a splendid station was built in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The town was named after the president of the Santa Fe, William Barstow Strong, and it soon became a service center for the gold and silver mines that surrounded the community.
Before all this feverish activity in the late 1800s, the Mojave Desert had been occupied by Indian tribes who (2,000 years ago) lived beside the immense lakes that covered most of the Mojave. Today, the landscape is bone dry, and Barstow is a highway town, at the junction of Interstate Highways 15 and 40, on the routes between Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Flagstaff. The railway station has been converted into a restaurant and shops.