Santa Fe Park
950 Front Street
Santa Fe Park is located in front of the Historic El Garces Hotel.
This Historic landmark is under renovation by the City of Needles.
It’s location is Front Street between G Street & F Street downtown.
At this park a number of events take place and you can find something going on all year long. It has a WW1 cannon which sits in the park.
Big Trees and plenty of shade is what you will find here.
Santa Fe Park & El Garces include the following:
- Turf Area
- Water Fountain
- Cannon Monument
- Historic El Garces
- Horseshoe Pits
- Shady Trees
This park sized at .82 of an acre.
El Garces Historic Hotel Depot
The Needles train depot and Harvey House has been of great importance to area history. Construction of this building began about 1906 and soon after fire destroyed the original wooden building. Because of the tragic aspects of the fire, the new building was constructed of concrete. Mojave Indians were the main labor force, climbing tall ladders to pour cement into forms. The building was completed with landscaping in place in 1908. It was named “El Garces” in honor of Father Francisco Garces, a missionary who visited the area in 1776. The primary mission of the El Garces Hotel was to serve train passengers; hence the front and most ornate side of the building faced the railroad tracks. Community members also utilized the facilities for elegant private dinners, banquets and special occasions. It also sat on Old Trails Highway, and later Route 66.
The El Garces was part of the Fred Harvey chain of hotel restaurants that extended along the Santa Fe Railroad to provide meals and lodging. It was considered the “Crown Jewel” of the entire chain and was remembered for the real linen and silver, distinctive china and fresh flowers provided for its guests every day. Food was of the highest quality. Waitresses were cultured young ladies, some from foreign lands. They received special training in neatness, courtesy and excellent service. They were required to sign a contract not to marry for one year. Many eventually married railroad men. Harvey girls and management lived upstairs.
There were also rooms for paying guests. The facility included a laundry and a bakery. El Garces served lunch and dinner. The lunchroom has two horseshoe shaped counters and could serve many people.
TODAY, the El Garces is owned by the City of Needles. A $10 million dollar restoration project is funded by OmniTrans & the FTA. Plenty of work has gone into the building to stabilize the structure since it’s built date of 1908.
Construction will be underway again in the Fall 2012 with a completion of a El Garces Intermodal Facility which will serve Needles Area Transit and Amtrak, and will likely be a stop, and on to regional service in Barstow.
In the second phase, regional transit connections will be pursued with neighboring transit providers Laughlin Southern Nevada Transit Coalition (SNTC), Bullhead Area Transit System (BATS) and Lake Havasu City Transit Division. The facility will provide a much-needed regional hub for multiple transit providers to provide connected transportation services to major employers and tourist destinations within the Tri-State area as well as Southern California destinations such as Anaheim and Buena Park.
The City will be soliciting tenants and potential private partners for the build-out phase of the remainder of the Depot. The Needles Chamber of Commerce will relocate in El Garces Depot and continue to serve as an unofficial information center, as it has historically done across the street.
When complete, El Garces Intermodal Facility will be an architectural icon visible from Interstate 40, which will promote tourism and economic development for the region.
This Project is complete and awaiting Tenant Improvements and new businesses to move in. Currently under construction is the operation office of the NAT (Needles Area Transit) which should be able to move in April 2015. For information contact the Planning Department at the City of Needles at (760) 326-5740 option 6. See “El Garces” for more information.