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Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum

Route 66 'Mother Road' Museum

Museum Displays

The museum contains a variety of memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66. There are vintage photographs, license plates, postcards, maps, newspaper clippings, along with a classic Ford Model T, and convertible 1964 Mustang.

route 66 museum route 66 museum route 66 museum

1964 Ford Mustang Convertible

Ford Mustang Ford Mustang

Ford Model T 1915

Lawrence E. Dale
Mayor, City of Barstow

Original Selling Price

4 Cylinder Cast Iron Block L-Head
20 Brake Horsepower @ 1600 RPM

2-Speed Planetary

Foot Brake in Transmission
Stops Drive Shaft

244,181 Made

Ford Model T

Maps, Postcards and more...

maps and postcards maps and postcards maps and postcards

gas pump quote from 'Grapes of Wrath' license plates


motorcycles motorcycles motorcycles

1947 Harley-Davidson Servi-Car Model G (?)
Retired Barstow Police Chief Dallas Hawes remembers that this 1947 Harley-Davidson Servi-Car was acquired by the Barstow Police Department in the early 1950s.

It was used primarily for parking enforcement along the "miracle block" (Main Street - Route 66!!! -- from First Avenue to Barstow Road) for the next 20 years or so, until parking meters were removed from both sides of Main Street. The utility box on the back of the cycle carried money retrieved from parking meters, as well as spare meters and the equipment needed to maintain them. Officer Robert Downing originally, and later Officer Eddie Moore, used this Servi-Car to enforec parking regulations and to maintain parking meters.

It was also used in the annual "Mardi Gras Parade" (held on Halloween) for traffic and crowd control until about 1995, long after it had been retired from parking enforcement. It has been refurbished two or three times since the early 1950s, according to Chief Hawes.

History of telephone service

telephone switchboard

"Hello Central"
by Martha Burnau
Years ago having a telephone was considered a luxury. In these "modern times," however, the telephone is such a necessity of our lives that we take it for granted (unless we decide to move out to a remote part of the desert where the cost of acquiring telephone service is still prohibitive).

Service came to settled portions of the Mojave Desert in 1913. In 1911 the Interstate Telegraph Company which was providing service to Inyo and Mono Counties and several Nevada counties was purchased by a power company. This company extended telephone line along its own power transmission facilities to the south, reaching Victorville in 1912 and Oro Grande and Barstow in 1913.

An agent of the power company handled original telephone communications in Barstow. The first switchboard was located in the lobby of the Hotel Melrose on Main Street in "old town." It was later moved to the library building between the tracks. Bertha Schmitt, one of the first switchboard operators in Barstow, recalls that in 1913 the few calls coming through gave her plenty of time to do her knitting. On February 21, 1913, Barstow Printer-Review reported "32 phones in service and more being applied for."

After WWI the Santa Fe Railway needed to enlarge its Barstow yard facilities. The citizens who owned homes and businesses were urged to sell their holdings, which were located in the center of the railroad yards. Agreement was reached between the railroad and concerned citizens and an exodus began in 1925.

The telephone company constructed a reinforced concrete building in the 100 block of North First Street in the center of town. All equipment and employees were moved into the new facility on November 5, 1926. This date also marked the beginning of an automatic dialing service. The newly constructed Melrose Hotel on Main Street house the first day and night long distance telephone booth.

Records left by Jimmy Mullen, trouble shooter for the Interstate Telegraph Company, reveal the following from February 8, 1923: Number 22-M issued to People's Home Laundry; Number 8-R issued to Electrical Plumbing Shop, formerly known as the Dresie and Hoxie Plumbing and Electrical Shop; Dr Pratt had two phones installed, one at his office and another at his residence; Jones Department Store, "Washie" Laundry, and Billie the Taylor's residence also received new phones.

January 1954 marked the end of the telephone service as a power company subsidiary. California Interstate Telephone Company was incorporated and began independent operations on March 24, 1954.

In 1964, another change came when the acquisition of all properties Continental Interstate Telephone Company (CI Tel Co) was born. The company added the Television Cable System to its holdings in 1967, but was required by the federal government to sell these facilities in the early 1970s. Today the local office supplies telephone service to Newberry Springs, Yermo, Daggett, Hinkley, Lenwood, Goldstone, Fort Irwin and the Marine Base as well as Barstow.

We are now able to maintain contact with just about anyone nearly anywhere in the world by just pushing a few buttons. Have you ever imagined what communications must have been like before the telephone became a reality on the desert?

Excerpted from Once Upon a Desert: A Bicentennial Project, ed.
Patricia Jernigan Keeling, published by Mojave Valley Museum Association in 1976

Historic photos and newspaper clippings

photos and clippings photos and clippings photos and clippings

Route 66 Museum Route 66 Museum

The Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum, is located at 681 N. First Avenue, Barstow, CA. See map.

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