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This area has been a desert travelers’ crossroads for centuries. The Spanish priest Francisco Garcès came through in 1776, and the Old Spanish Trail passed nearby. By the 1860s, settlers on the Mojave River were selling supplies to California immigrants. Mines were founded in the hills. Barstow, named after a railway executive, got going as a railroad junction after 1886. It was also a major rest stop for travelers along old Route 66. Today it serves a couple of military bases, as well as being the unofficial capital of the Mojave Desert.