El Garces Fred Harvey Hotel Vintage
The El Garces Hotel today, April, 2008, Kathy Weiser.
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When the original depot was destroyed by fire; it was replaced by the El Garces
and Train Depot which was completed in 1908. The building was named "El
Garces" in honor of Father Francisco Garces, a missionary who visited the
area in 1776. The El Garces was considered one of the "Crown Jewels"
of the entire chain and was remembered for the real linen and silver,
distinctive china and fresh flowers provided for its guests daily. The
lunchroom had two horseshoe shaped counters and could serve many people.
Community members also utilized the facilities for elegant private
dinners, banquets and special occasions. The El Garces closed as a
in the fall of 1949, at which time the building was partitioned and used
as Santa Fe Railway offices.
In 1988, the Santa Fe Railroad moved their
offices out of the El Garces to another facility and the building was
closed. Sitting abandoned, the historic building was threatened with
destruction until the Friends of El Garces was formed in 1993. Through their efforts, the City of
Needles was petitioned to purchase the station, which occurred in
1999. Though still in the process of renovation, the City of
Needles plans to reopen it as a
Harvey House Hotel, including a
museum and shops, with the intention that at least part of the project
would be completed by 2007. However, during our travels in April,
2008, the El Garces was still under
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