Visitors to the area are often torn between exploring the past or the future and frequently wind up staying a bit longer to do both. Families always enjoy a good time at Calico Ghost Town, a former boomtown recreated for 21st-century pioneers to discover.
Today, the town thrives by 1881 standards, offering its guests a glimpse into mining tunnels, rides along a narrow gauge train, and demonstrations of water that runs uphill. Billed as California Historical Landmark Number 782 and designated as the official Silver Rush Town for the State of California, Calico demands a full day to enjoy its secrets.
And, of course, it is hard to pass up the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, where the history of this famous highway is preserved. Collectors and fans of Route 66 are generally surprised at the new knowledge they gain of the most strenuous stretch of the infamous highway. Many are inspired to head out and explore a section or two for themselves. The Mother Road Museum and the Western America Railroad Museum are both housed at the historic Harvey House, circa 1911.
Back in the early part of the 20th century to the 1950s when rail travel was still glamorous and trains were considered the transportation of choice, Fred Harvey set up a string of dining rooms and boarding houses for Santa Fe Railroad travelers. In Barstow, he opened up the “Casa Del Desierto” (now known as the Harvey House) and for many years it was considered one of the jewels of the Harvey House system.
When Santa Fe announced it wanted to tear down the Harvey House, there was enough of an outcry from locals, historians, rail fans and architect buffs to delay their plans.
Speaking of Route 66, take a stroll down Main Street in downtown Barstow for an artistic look at Barstow’s rich history as told by our Main Street Murals. These murals provide a unique look into the past as they depict Barstow’s history through pictures painted by local artists.
At the end of the day, leave the past and rejoin the present for some good old-fashioned entertainment. Barstow is home to one of the very few drive-in theatres still in existence. The Skyline Drive-In proudly shows double features on both screens every night of the week.
Some visitors start their exploration of the area with reservations at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, one of only three NASA stations of its kind in the world. Here scientists conduct deep space research. Check out www.jpl.nasa.gov and www.avste.org for hours and availability during your stay.