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Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 02, 2003


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Goffs: Treasure of the Mojave

Route 66 continues on towards Needles from Essex, if you swing to the left and cross the Interstate you will be on your way to a little known Route 66 treasure. This portion of the old road is the pre 1931 alignment of Route 66 and leads to the little desert community of Goffs, California. In the early days of Needles, residents thought that Goffs was a nice place to go to beat the Mojave heat. Actually Goffs is a little higher in elevation than Needles, a fact that prompted residents of the Colorado River town to spend their summers here. They thought it was cooler in Goffs. Why melt in the 120-degree heat of Needles when you could enjoy the cool alpine temperature of 115 degrees in Goffs? 
   

Goffs School House

Goffs School House Goffs is the home of the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. The show place of the association is the old Goffs School. The Goffs School was built in 1914 and served the outlying families of the area from 1914 through 1937. It was a survivor of old Route 66. The old school was certainly not what I had expected the first time I saw it two years ago. Instead of the usual wood frame construction found in remote desert communities, it was constructed of a heavy wood frame, steel mesh and stucco.
  I had a preconceived idea of what an old school should look like, and the Goffs School didn't meet those expectations. The unique mission style architecture of the school seemed oddly out of place here.

I glanced at the picture of the school as it was in 1982 and saw just how far the school had deteriorated over the years. The roof was falling in, and the windows and frames were missing. In my opinion it could have qualified for "ruin status". The job of restoration by the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association must have been a big one indeed. They really did a fine job of it too. The school in front of me that Sunday morning looked identical to the 1914 picture of it. It was clean and crisp with none of the weathering evident from the years of neglect. It looked brand new and ready to open its doors once again to the students of Goffs.

I'm  glad that dedicated people like Dennis and JoAnn Casebier and the Friends of the Mojave Road took it upon themselves to preserve a part of our heritage for future generations. The Goffs schoolhouse is now quite functional again and is being used as a museum and the headquarters for Association. 

School Teacher Display

     
Dennis and JoAnn Casebier

Goffs Roadside Attraction Sign

Dennis and JoAnn unveil the new Route 66 Roadside Attraction sign, a much-deserved recognition, at the old school house.

 

Mojave Cultural Center

There's a lot more to see and do at the Goffs School too. The Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association has extensive archives, maps and photographs of the area for the study of the fascinating history of the area. They have also saved and recreated a whole town behind the school house as a great open air exhibit on life in the Mojave Desert. From mining exhibits with real structures and equipment to Route 66 memorabilia this is a must see stop for any history buff.

Filler Up

     
1921 Buick

Goffs Gas

 

You can't enjoy Goffs fully in less than an hour ...

Night Blooming Cactus

04GoffsCabose.jpg (12001 bytes)

"If everyone on Route 66 did what Goffs has done, man, that would be awesome!" Jim Conkle

 


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