This clip was mailed to me. I don't know what paper it's from, so I couldn't get their permission to use it. It may be the San Bernardino Sun, although they deny it!


 As Barstow and Needles make progress on restoring their old train stations, they light the way for San Bernardino to follow in their steps and renovate its own, once-grand depot.

The restoration of Barstow's Harvey House is becoming one of the major success stories of historical restoration in San Bernardino County.

Built 88 years ago, the Harvey House served as the depot-restaurant complex for the Santa Fe Railway. During the heyday of rail passenger travel, Casa del Desierto, as the Barstow facility was known, was the center of community activity.

But as rail travel declined, so did the fortunes of the Harvey House; it closed in 1973. For about two decades, it was a forlorn derelict.

But Barstow preservationists didn't give up on it. Many years of effort on their part were crowned with success when the building reopened a few years ago as Barstow's rail-bus transit center.

Now, an even more exciting future lies ahead for the building: It is about to become Barstow's city hall. Most city offices will be housed there.

The council chambers will remain at the current City Hall, and the Police Department, which needs more space will expand into the areas vacated by the departments that move to the Harvey House.

It's a great, innovative way to bring life to a building that -- for many decades -- was the community's centerpiece.

We hope the Barstow experience will serve as an inspiration for other historic train stations throughout the county.

One of them, the beautiful mission-style Union Pacific station at Kelso -- saved from destruction in 1985 -- fortunately has been earmarked for a new life as a visitor center and museum for the Mojave National Preserve.

In Needles, a hearty band of preservationists has been striving for years to save El Garces, that city's Harvey House. They won a major victory recently when the city agreed to acquire the property, making it eligible for the kinds of grants that helped save its counterpart Harvey House at Barstow.

But the Needles project still has a long way to go; it needs support and encouragement. Sadly, the old Santa Fe depot in San Bernardino sits in shabby, neglected condition while bureaucratic procedure at various governmental and railway levels keep restoration efforts frozen in inaction.

We hope the successful restoration efforts that are in various stages of unfolding at the desert stations will inspire San Bernardino officials to redouble their efforts to gain control of their station and make it one more jewel in our county's historical collection

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