Needles Historic Train Depot “El Garces” – Harvey House
El Garces hotel and restaurant in Needles, California, was part of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Depot. The hotel was built in 1908 by the Santa Fe Railroad under contract with the Fred Harvey Company, which owned a chain of restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industry businesses alongside railroads in the western United States. Named in honor of Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés and designed by architect Francis W. Wilson, the elegant Neoclassical and Beaux-Arts style hotel was considered the “Crown Jewel” of the entire Fred Harvey chain. Though the hotel and restaurant closed in 1949, Amtrak continued to use the Santa Fe railroad station until 1988. The El Garces hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 17, 2002.
Restoration of the historic El Garces began in March of 2007. Plans by entrepreneur Allen Affeldt, owner of the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona, to open an upscale hotel and restaurant fell through in 2009. Due to the $4.8 million in public funding granted by the Federal Transit Administration for construction, it was determined ownership of the hotel should remain with the city. City redevelopment continued, and the El Garces intermodal transportation facility renovation project was finally completed in 2014.
Owner: City of Needles
Original Architect: Francis W. Wilson