MCLB BARSTOW


Local Area

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MCLB Barstow Local Area

 

INTRODUCTION

Barstow, “Gateway to the great mysterious desert,” has more to offer than meets the eye. There are surprises everywhere: volcanic cinder cones, booming sand dunes, historic and modern mines, rock formations etched with messages from former residents, vast vistas framed with mile-high mountains and small towns dotted along historic Route 66.

This is the Mojave Desert. Natural beauty, an abundance of outdoor activities, historical sights, modern shopping centers, fine dining and a variety of accommodations are all here.

Overall, Barstow is a peaceful and tranquil town where you and your family can avoid the distractions and pressures of demanding city traffic and crowds, while exploring a dusty jewel of the high desert.

HISTORY AND ORIENTATION

A railway town since its founding, the city of Barstow has a population of nearly 24,000, with a trade area encompassing more than 60,000 people (incorporating the communities of Barstow, Daggett, Fort Irwin, Hinkley, Lenwood, Newberry Springs and Yermo). In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in town and a splendid station was built in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Named after the president of the Santa Fe, William Barstow Strong, the town 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 Native American 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 15 and Interstate 40, on the routes between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Flagstaff. The railway station has been converted into restaurants and shops.

TRANSPORTATION

Air, rail, truck, highway and bus systems make Barstow a complete California transportation center. Interstates 40 and 15 and state highways 58 and 247 provide easy access by car to surrounding cities in Southern California including Los Angeles, San Diego and other popular coastal cities as well as to the neighboring states: Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

While there are no major commercial airports in Barstow, Ontario International Airport (77 miles southwest), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) (131 miles) and Las Vegas (157 miles) all schedule passenger and freight services. Barstow-Daggett Airport and Southern California Logistics Airport (30 miles southwest) also offer these services.

The rail facilities of both Santa Fe and Union Pacific provide the utmost in rail service to the shipper. Both Amtrak and Greyhound offer passenger service to and from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

For local transportation services, the Victor Valley Transit Authority provides its fixed-route transit system services by bus to and in the Barstow area.

GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC RESOURCES

After you and your family are situated, it is recommended that you familiarize yourselves with your local community government and organizations, such as the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, the City of Barstow, the DMV and the Barstow field office of the Bureau of Land Management. Do not hesitate to take advantage of what these organizations and resources have to offer, as they are especially familiar with assisting and educating newcomers like you to the area.

The Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau promotes commerce and tourism throughout the region. It is also a conduit between the community and the military population at MCLB Barstow and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin. The chamber’s member directory has information on many local services, utilities, businesses and recreational opportunities. For more information on the chamber, call 760-256-8617 or visit www.barstowchamber.com.

The City of Barstow has a council-manager form of government. The city council has five representatives, including Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre. The city council can be contacted at 760-255-5195. Other city departments include the city manager’s office, police department, fire protection district, community development department, community services department and finance department. For more information on city hall or City of Barstow services, visit www.barstowca.org.

The Barstow office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles provides vehicle registration, driver’s license and ID card services to the Barstow community at 528 E. Virginia Way. For more information, call 800-777-0133 or visit www.dmv.ca.gov.

The Bureau of Land Management is the public’s resource for information, management and assistance on the use of public land in the Mojave Desert and other public land areas. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Barstow field region covers an area from the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park to Fort Irwin and from the eastern boundary of San Bernardino National Forest to north of Death Valley Junction, California, as far as the California-Nevada state line. To contact the Barstow field office, call 760-252-6000. For more information on the bureau’s services, programs and recreational opportunities, visit www.blm.gov.

MEDIA

The Victorville Daily Press/Desert Dispatch serves Barstow and other surrounding communities as the main newspaper. Several radio stations and a regional TV station also provide Barstow with other specialized media. The Highway Vibe (99.7, 98.1 and 98.9 FM), The Drive (96.9 and 94.9 FM) and Highway Country (107.3 and 101.5 FM) cover more than 40,000 square miles of the Mojave Desert area. They bring travelers of interstates 15 and 40 continuous news, traffic and weather updates as well as provide hours of a variety of music favorites for travelers’ listening pleasure. Highway Radio also features The Las Vegas Connection, where Las Vegas-bound tourists can get information on current and upcoming events.

HOUSING AVAILABILITY, PRICES AND RENTALS

Rentals for one- and two-bedroom apartments and townhomes range from about $500 to $1,200 per month. Rentals for two- and three-bedroom homes range from about $550 to $1,450. Other options include more than a dozen mobile home parks and house rentals. Low-income housing is also available through the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino.

One resource for finding a new home in Barstow is the Automated Housing Referral Network website. At www.AHRN.com, you’ll find the largest listing of military-friendly housing around the world, including on- and off-base housing; houses, apartments or rooms; temporary lodging; and more. This free database is updated continually by landlords and property managers, and the AHRN website also features information about BAH data, local schools, utilities, military-friendly businesses and more.

HOSPITAL AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

Barstow Community Hospital is a 30-bed facility with inpatient and outpatient services, and medical, surgical and emergency care with approximately 360 healthcare professionals. It is an acute care facility with some of the latest medical technology in the area, including: 1.5 Tesla MRI, 32-slice CT, a digital mammogram unit, 3-D and 4-D ultrasound and more. Visit www.barstowhospital.com for more information.

EDUCATION

Public education is provided by the Barstow Unified School and Silver Valley Unified School districts. Barstow Unified has six elementary schools, two junior high schools, two high schools and an adult education school. Silver Valley has four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one alternative education center. Barstow also has two private schools and a community college (Barstow Community College).

Barstow Community College

Barstow Community College offers traditional and distance education courses and programs. The two-year college provides lower-division courses that transfer to baccalaureate degree institutions. The college also offers occupational programs for entry into the workforce or for advancing the skill sets of those currently in the workforce. Contract educational and training offerings are tailored to the working professional and the unique demands of local and regional businesses.

At $46 per unit, the cost of attending Barstow College is relatively inexpensive. Non-residents pay $211 per unit, in addition to the $46 per unit enrollment fee.

The Barstow College campus is on Barstow Road overlooking the city, the Mojave River and the Calico Mountains. The campus is an attractive green oasis in the desert with a variety of palm, cypress, oak and olive trees that form an ideal setting for student learning. Facilities available on the campus include a large gymnasium (James R. Parks), a child care facility (Child Care America), a comfortable meeting hall (the Norman Smith Center) and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Barstow Community College has also partnered with Park University to offer students a flexible, convenient and economical path to a bachelor’s degree. Associate degrees can transfer seamlessly to a four-year degree from Park. Park has a formal campus center on the BCC campus, allowing the two institutions to work side-by-side to help you earn a degree.

Contact a campus counselor to see how you can take advantage of the various services offered, take required assessment tests, attend a new student orientation and obtain all information necessary for registration. Call 760-252-2411 or visit www.barstow.edu. For information on Park University’s campus center at Barstow Community College, call 760-252-7275 or visit www.park.edu/campus-centers/california/ca-barstow-community-college.html.

MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL POINTS OF INTEREST

California Welcome Center

Located in the Outlets at Barstow, the California Welcome provides free local, regional and statewide visitor information. The center is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more information, call 760-253-4782 or visit www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/california-welcome-center-barstow.

Barstow Harvey House

The original Harvey House Railroad Depot in Barstow was constructed in 1885. Known as “Casa del Desierto,” or House of the Desert, the Harvey House Railroad Depot consisted of a wood depot, restaurant and hotel that later burned in 1908. The current Harvey House was designed by Mary Colter and was constructed from 1910 to 1913. Its design speaks to Santa Fe 16th century Spanish and Southwest American Indian architecture. Today, the Barstow Harvey House is home to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum and the Western America Railroad Museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Route 66 Mother Road Museum houses pieces of a bygone era within the renovated walls of the Harvey House. The Route 66 museum features vintage automobiles and motorcycles, including a 1947 Harley-Davidson police trike, an old gas pump, model trains, historic photographs, postcards from around the area and other Route 66 memorabilia. For information, call 760-255-1890 or visit
www.route66museum.org.

The Western America Railroad Museum features railroad memorabilia, old locomotives, photos and archives. For information, call 760-256-WARM (9276) or visit www.barstowrailmuseum.org.

Mojave River Valley Museum

The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the Mojave River Valley’s heritage. The museum houses collections of artifacts and information that portray the history of the area from the arrival of Father Garces in 1776 to the present space program. Admission is free. Call 760-256-5452 or visit
www.mojaverivervalleymuseum.org for more information.

CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS

There are numerous clubs and organizations that meet each month and hold events, which you and your family can participate in, throughout the year. Some are for the elderly, retired military and families of military, hobbyists, artists, business people, etc., including the Boys & Girls Club, Kiwanis and Toastmasters, just to name a few. Barstow also offers more than 20 places of worship and religious meetings. For more information on area organizations and churches, visit the chamber of commerce’s website at www.barstowchamber.com.

SHOPPING AND DINING

Barstow offers an extensive brand-name selection even for the most finicky of shoppers. The Outlets at Barstow boasts nearly 40 retailers, including Banana Republic, Coach, Gap, Nike, Quiksilver and more. Call 760-253-4813 or visit www.theoutletsatbarstow.com for more information.

Barstow Station, a shopping complex within a railroad car and station, is another favorite stopover for travelers and tourists. It offers dining and gift shops, Greyhound bus services and more. It is also the home of the FM 98 and 99 studios. For more information, call 760-256-0366 or visit www.barstowstation.net.

Search for antiques and vintage treasures at the 40,000-square-foot Treasure House Mall. The mall has 50 vendors with a variety of antique and thrift merchandise. Visit
www.facebook.com/treasurehousemall for more information.

For more shopping and dining information, search the chamber of commerce’s website at www.barstowchamber.com.

YERMO

The city of Yermo has a population of approximately 1,200. The Union Pacific railway runs parallel to Yermo Road, the main drag of the town. Yermo is also home to MCLB Barstow’s Yermo Annex, Calico Ghost Town and Peggy Sue’s ’50s Diner, as well as numerous annual events.

Calico Ghost Town

1881 marked the beginning of one of the largest silver strikes in California history and the birth of Calico. This authentic silver mining town, which lies in the colorful hills of the Calico Mountains just 10 minutes north of Barstow, lives on as one of the few original mining camps of the Old West. Today, you can visit this famous ghost town where silver dominated the town and the U.S. Borax Co. brought its 20-mule team to town on a regular basis.

Spend a day exploring the various mercantile stores that reflect the time of a bygone era. Some of these shops include leather works, crafts, woodworks and more. Step into the past while participating in the guided underground Maggie Mine tour, gold panning, a historic train tour and much more. After a long day of activities, your family can dine at one of the mining day theme restaurants such as Lil’s Saloon or the Old Miner’s Cafe. Extend your stay at one of the 265 campsites, which have accommodations for RVs, or in one of the six cabins or the large bunkhouse, all tucked away in a secluded canyon.

Calico is also home to several annual events. In February, Civil War Days features re-enactments of Union and Confederate Troops in the hills of Calico Mountain. For Mother’s Day, Bluegrass in the Spring brings music, cloggers, old-time games, gunfight shows and more to Calico Ghost Town. In September, Calico Days celebrates the rich history of the ghost town’s silver rush and mining past. The weekend features a triathlon, a burro race, a costume contest, a parade and more. October is the perfect month for the Calico Ghost Haunt, which includes trick-or-treating, costume contests, pumpkin carving, stage shows, haunted attractions and other Halloween events. A full list of annual events is available at the Calico website at http://cms.sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown.aspx. Visit the website or call 800-TO-CALICO (862-2542) for more information.

Peggy Sue’s ’50s Diner

“Eat to the beat” at Peggy Sue’s, an original ’50s roadside diner. Built in 1954, it was expanded and restored to its original charm in 1987. Shadowed by the Calico Mountains, it houses an extensive collection of movie and TV memorabilia. Dine here for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy great homemade chili and soups, a pizza parlor, a soda fountain, an ice cream parlor or old-fashioned candy — all to old-time ’50s music. Peggy Sue’s also features a five-and-dime store and a Dinersaur Park with dinosaur sculptures, cool lagoons and sparkling waterfalls surrounded by shady trees.

DAGGETT

Daggett is a small town in the Mojave Desert, about 8 miles east of Barstow on Interstate 40. Those using Route 66 easily overlook it, and yet the “Mother Road” passes right through the town. Founded in the 1860s, 15 to 20 years before the filing of Waterman’s claim, Daggett was once called Calico Junction. It was renamed in 1883 to honor John Daggett, lieutenant governor of California from 1882 to 1886. Daggett is the “parent” community of the Mojave Valley. For nearly 40 years, it was the hub of the Mojave Desert. As the outfitting point for mines in Death Valley, the Calicos, Vanderbilt and dozens of other locations, it was the recognized commercial center. Today the town is home to a modern airport, agriculture and light industry and is at the junction of two major railroad lines.

Daggett Museum

Daggett Museum moved to the historic Stone Hotel in 2017. Despite burning down twice, the original adobe and stone portion of the Stone Hotel has remained exactly as it was built in 1883. The museum consists of more than 40 cases displaying early American collectibles, railroad china, Navajo Indian code-talker artifacts from World War II, barbed wire, lapidary work and much more, including a unique model of the Solar I generating plant. For more information, visit www.daggetthistoricalsociety.org.

OUTDOORS

Safety and Precautions

Before setting foot on any outdoor adventures, visit the local ranger stations (contact the Bureau of Land Management) or other desert information resource establishments and get familiarized with the unique qualities and habits of the vast variety of plants and animals in the high desert. This information can dispel common myths and misunderstandings, help avoid dangerous situations or encounters, yet allow one to appreciate what the desert has to offer. Also, before removing or altering archeological finds, be aware of the rules set forth by the Bureau of Land Management.

Wildlife

Though not always visible, wildlife is abundant across the Mojave Desert. There are over 300 species of animals, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes and desert tortoises. A variety of birds live in the desert as well. Golden eagles and several species of hawks can be seen soaring on the desert thermals. Gambel’s quail, chukar and mourning doves, as well as many other small species of birds live in the canyons and washes where they are able to find water, food and vegetation for cover.

Snakes

There are several species lurking in the Mojave National Preserve and in the surrounding areas like the desert rosy boa, a cousin to the South American constrictor, which grows to be only 2 or 3 feet in length. The easy-going gopher snake grows large, up to 6 feet in length, but rarely bites. Most dangerous are the Mojave rattlesnake and the desert sidewinder, both of which are poisonous. Not to worry though, snakes and other formidable creatures typically remain in hiding far from human life during the day and only come out in the evening to hunt for rodents, insects and other small creatures.

Plants

Desert plants are especially adapted to living in this arid climate. Common plants include yucca, creosote and the Joshua tree. The spring brings a colorful and abundant array of blossoms when the winter rains have watered the desert.

Camping

Full-service hookup sites as well as rugged minimalist campsites are easily accessible from Barstow.

OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE AREAS

Off-highway vehicle riding is one of the major recreational activities in Southern California. Public lands available for OHV use are designated as either limited use areas or open areas. Vehicles are required to remain on designated routes of travel within all of the limited use areas. Open areas are contained within a formal OHV boundary and permit cross-country travel. Some popular areas include Stoddard Valley, Rasor, Dumont Dunes and more.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL POINTS OF INTEREST

The geological treasures waiting to be discovered throughout the Mojave desert-preserved landscape include precious minerals and stones, petrified wood, prehistoric artifacts and more. Today, a visit to Black Canyon and Opal Mountain offers an opportunity to view nearly 10,000 petroglyphs and pictographs.

Mojave National Preserve

The 1.4 million acres between interstates 5 and 40 in southeastern California were designated by Congress as a national preserve in 1994 to protect the prehistoric, historic and natural resources found in the region. Elevations range from near sea level north of Baker, California, to over 6,000 feet in the Ord Mountains south of Barstow, and the terrain ranges from mountains to sand dunes. Indian rock art includes petroglyphs more than 10,000 years old and evidence of more recent human activity, particularly mining and cattle ranching, remains as well. Visit www.nps.gov/moja for more information.

Rainbow Basin Natural Area

Fossils and minerals are contained in the rock walls, formed by millions of years of geological activity and displaying an array of colors. A driving tour is available, but keep in mind that the one-way narrow dirt road is best driven with a high-clearance or four-wheel drive vehicle. Camping is permitted for a fee at Owl Canyon Campground. Visit www.blm.gov/visit/rainbow-basin-owl-canyon-campground for more information.

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