Waterman Junction

Barstow, California

Barstow is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. The population was 21,119 at the 2000 census.

Barstow is a major regional transportation center. Several major highways including Interstate 15 and Interstate 40 converge in the city. It is the site of a large rail classification yard, belonging to the BNSF Railway. The Union Pacific Railroad also runs through town on trackage rights on BNSF's main line to Daggett 10 miles east, where it heads to Salt Lake City, and the BNSF heads to Chicago.

Barstow is home to Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow and is the closest city to Fort Irwin Military Reservation.

Despite its small population and relative isolation, Barstow is disproportionately represented in popular culture as a desert transit point. U.S. Route 66 ran through Barstow, and the town's name is mentioned in the lyrics to the song, Route 66 and in the Black Eyed Peas song Like That as Will.I.Am raps that he "(has) a style that's way out like Barstow" commenting on Barstow's distance from the BEP's home city of Los Angeles. Barstow is also mentioned in Hunter S. Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill Vol. II, and in numerous other films and television shows.

Barstow is also the butt of many jokes, particularly because of its brown, barren landscape and aging infrastructure. There is also a large number of vagrants in the area, likely because of the homeless getting off of trains at the railyard, and the convergence of the two Interstates. Harry Patch wrote a book entitled Barstow, a work that takes as its text eight pieces of graffiti he had seen on a highway railing left by hitchhikers in Barstow.


Barstow started getting settled in the late 1840s in the Mormon Corridor. Barstow's roots also lie in the rich mining history of the Mojave Desert. Because of the miners coming to Calico and Daggett following the discovery of silver in the 1860s, railroads were constructed to transport goods and people.

The Southern Pacific built a line from Mojave, California through Barstow to Needles in 1883. In 1884, by way of a compromise, ownership of the line from Needles to Mojave was transferred to the Santa Fe Railroad. Railroad magnate William Barstow Strong, who owned the Santa Fe, is the eponym of the city.

Barstow's history was further cemented with the paving of the major highways through the city. Much of Barstow's economy depends on transportation.

Some early Barstow names were Camp Sugarloaf, Grapevine, and Waterman Junction.


Barstow is located at (34.876259, -117.034818).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 87.0 km² (33.6 mi²), all land.


Barstow experiences four seasons. Summer days are very hot, with highs typically exceeding 100 °F (37.8 °C). Winter, in contrast, is characterized by cold mornings, with lows near 30 °F (-1 °C). Daily temperature ranges are large. The afternoon high is usually about 60 °F (17 °C) warmer than the morning low.

The city is very dry. The average annual precipitation is about 4 inches, with more than half of it typically falling during the winter months. Snowfall is uncommon in winter, occurring every year or two.


The native vegetation is dominated by low desert shrubs such as creosote bush. City residents have introduced many non-native plants, prominent among which are trees such as Aleppo pine, Italian cypress, fan palm, ailanthus, ash, palo verde and redbud.


As of the census of 2000, there were 21,119 people, 7,647 households, and 5,253 families residing in the city. The population density was 242.8/km² (628.8/mi²). There were 9,153 housing units at an average density of 105.2/km² (272.5/mi²).

The racial makeup of the city was 57.10% White, 11.60% African American, 2.41% Native American, 3.08% Asian, 0.95% Pacific Islander, 18.40% from other races, and 6.46% from two or more races. 36.50% of the population were Hispanic, Latino or Latin American of any race.

There were 7,647 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,069, and the median income for a family was $40,160. Males had a median income of $37,425 versus $25,380 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,132. About 15.6% of families and 20.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.8% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.

In a 2006 state-funded economic survey, Barstow ranks among the 10 poorest cities in California. One third of residents receive public assistance and 4 out of 10 receive welfare and social security funds. Its long distance from major cities and urban centers has created economic problems, and Barstow is seeking projects to boost the economy. However, there are three casinos planned for the area. Numerous construction projects have been announced for Barstow, including a Wal-Mart distribution center, retail growth, and an increase in lodging accommodations. The Barstow economy is seeing positive growth that will continue well into the next decade.

  • median house price : $115,276 (in 2005), significantly below California state average
  • 10.4% unemployment is above state average.
  • 9.1% of population have a bachelor's degree or higher, significantly below the state average.
  • Crime index : 445.9 (U.S. average is 330.6)
  • Temperature : 33 - 102 °F (0 - 39 °C) range

The climate is very hot in the summertime(highest recorded temperature was 115 °F in 1995 (46 °C)), and it normally has above average winds.


In the state legislature Barstow is located in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Roy Ashburn, and in the 34th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Maze. Federally, Barstow is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.


Barstow has 8 elementary schools (grades 1-4), 1 intermediate school (5-6), and 1 junior high (7-8).
Grades 9-12 are taught at Barstow High School. Barstow Community College is the main college in the area, and it's primary objective is to enable students to transfer to a four-year college or university.

Sites and attractions

In Barstow

Famous people from Barstow



External links

  • Barstow CA Visitors Guide

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