Barstow clearly has a lively and developing artistic community displayed by the generous support of individuals and businesses in the area that have given their time effort and money to this worthwhile voluntary organization.
Main Street Murals would like to publicly acknowledge and thank all the sponsors, donors and artists who have supported Mural in a Day and made this event possible:
Sponsors / Patrons
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Valley Ace Lumber
Barstow Flower & Bridal
Donors of Supplies and services
The City of Barstow
Valley Ace Lumber
Off Limits design
Bill & Jill Cook
Barstow Public Library
Mojave River Valley Museum
Desert Discovery Center
Mike Martinez and family
Ira Gwin and his Old Style Music Trio
Candice Michelson – teacher at Henderson school and GATE program co-coordinator
Parents of Barstow Gate program students for their support and enthusiasm.
Goody Bag & Raffle Donors
Barstow Flower & Bridal
VnJ Professional Outfitter
Sparkle Car Wash
Calico wood shop
Union Bank of California
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Mojave River Valley Museum
Desert West Media
The Highway Stations 98&99FM
Air America 12.30AM
Barstow Chamber of Commerce
Next time you are driving through down town Main Street look out for the growing number of murals that are brightening your city.
Field Trip to
find traces of The Old Spanish Trail
Main Street Murals
Educational Art /History Mural Program
Saturday 10th March 2007.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining as an expectant crowd gathered in the car park of Barstow public library for the next exciting episode in the Old Spanish Trail Educational Mural program.
The pupils lined up outside the bus, their satchels loaded with sketchpads and journals and provisions for the day ahead. As names were called out, the 4th and 5th graders that form the group,(all from the Barstow school district GATE program), jumped on board to claim their seats. For this was the eagerly awaited field trip to find Traces of the Old Spanish Trail that passed through the Barstow area back in the trails hay day of 1829 – 1848.
The session was led by Clifford Walker, Director of the California chapter of The Old Spanish Trail Association. As an Historian, writer and lecturer, Clifford has a wealth of knowledge on the fascinating history of the desert and imparts his insight into the areas fascinating history with enthusiasm and humor.
With everyone aboard, the bus headed off in a North Easterly direction toward the Mojave Riverbed in Newberry Springs, off Minneola Road.
(Clifford Walker and the students on the Riverbank of the Mojave River)
On arrival at the first location the pupils were guided to a vantage spot to scan the vista. Sat on the now sand driven banks of the Mojave Rive, Clifford painted a picture of a landscape that was in stark difference to the scene before them.
Back in the 1800’s, the Mojave River ran deep and wide, and was lined with vegetation; cottonwood and Mesquite trees grew along the banks and lush grass and meadows thrived from the ample supply of nourishment from the river.
The Mojave River was a significant watering hole for the traders traveling the Old Spanish Trail, and was a welcome paradise in comparison to the harsh arid desert land that had been endured on the trail between Nevada and California.
Today, the riverbed is dry and the water flows underground, although signs of the once water rich land can still be seen in the dark tree skeletons that stand out along the sand banks like pieces of sculpture representing ghosts of distant times.
Small groups of Indians (of Piute origin), once settled in Barstow and the surrounding area. Native Indians were instrumental in establishing the trail as they helped guide the Mexican and American trail finders along direct and safe trails that they themselves had already found.
The native Indians were an unknown quantity to the new explorers and communication was not always easy to establish. In some cases hostility was found, however, in many areas the Indians and explorers made a common kinship and traded goods, foods and directions in a peaceful manner.
The trafficking of slaves was also offered up and these traded Indian slaves were taken to the missions where they were put to work.
With the scene set of times past and the reality of the changed scenery in front of them, the pupils set to work drawing the Mojave riverbank creating differing interpretations of the river, some lush with vegetation and a flowing river of the past and others showing the sandy banks and calico mountains beyond of today.
Cliffords dogs, Coco and Teddy held an inquisitive eye on the creative proceedings, musing over the artists work in between hunting for Jack rabbits.
With artwork finished the group packed up and headed back to the bus and headed for the next location along Highway 91.
The next site was chosen to show the pupils a directional view of the trail as it would have headed south from Bitter Springs, Through Spanish Canyon north of the I15 and then down toward the Mojave River and through BARSTOW.
The mountain range is spectacular and the colors range from tangerine, white, purple, brown and black.
(The group looks northward to the route direction of the Old Spanish Trail)
The group were told of the importance of this communication corridor and how it has developed with Indian trail, mule trail, the wagon road of the Mormons and 49ers, graded road of Old Arrowhead Highway, paved road of Highway 91, I15 Union Pacific Railroad, the power towers and then of course the airplane route above.
Sketchpads and pencils came out as the children captured the shape and tone of the mountain ranges and the desert plant life including commonly known Mormon Tea and creosote bushes, all of which will be included in the final mural painting.
The group then headed back on the bus east on highway 91 to Harvard Road and then down toward Lake Delores, where Clifford had chosen a site to feast both minds and stomachs.
Here, the group saw a Native American chalcedony tool-making quarry where for a couple of thousand years Indians quarried rocks for points, knives, drills and scrappers. The students learn’t about flintknapping (breaking rocks to start the tool process) and were encouraged to look at the differing rocks around them, from weather blasted smooth stones to craggy cratered rocks and chipped flints.
Meanwhile a small stone fire had been set by Domingo Gonzales and a Dutch oven heated. Once the group had finished scanning the area for interesting rocks and plant life, the camp lunch was ready to serve.
(Clifford explains the cooking method of a Dutch oven used by the Mexican caravans)
The students crowded round the fire and Clifford explained the kinds of foods prepared by the New Mexican caravan on the trail and were then invited to sample a feast of Beans, beef jerky, pork skins, and to drink, there was Atole (cornmeal based drink) and Pinole (roasted cornmeal & seed drink).
The food was sampled first tentatively then greedily finished and the Dutch oven was spooned dry, much to the dismay of Clifford’s doggy chums who were also tempted by the delicious smells.
Once pots and pans had been packed away and the area scanned to ensure no litter had been left, the group headed back to Barstow to the Public Library.
It was 1pm, but the day was not over and the students headed inside the library to continue the session.
Once seated in teams the students worked together on worksheets prepared by the Main Street Mural team covering the field trip session. The children then had the opportunity to talk with the whole group about what they had learn’t about The Old Spanish Trail, finding differences and similarities of the times in travel, communication, entertainment and food.
The group then split into their art teams and worked on their mural designs and posters with David Brockhurst (mural artist), Candice Michealson (school district teacher), Kathy Fierro and Jane Laraman-Brockhurst (Main Street Murals).
To choose highlights of the day would be an endless exercise as the whole day was a complete hit and a really unique learning experience for everyone.
Finding local relevance to a National trail out on the field is truly inspiring and a great creative motivator. The students all came away with stories, drawings and written journals and worksheets as well as stimulated taste buds, which represents learning at its best.
Main Street Murals would like to thank the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium for sponsoring the field trip, and for showing their support and interest in this new and exciting project.
We would also like to thank Clifford Walker for giving his time, spreading his enthusiasm and sharing his love of history with the students, who all came away bright eyed and inspired.
Special thanks to Rose Beardshear from the BLM for her enthusiasm and dedicated support in this project.
The project continues its journey of discovery to explore The Old Spanish Trail and create the eighth mural of the existing walking gallery of historic public art located in down town Barstow. On Wednesday 14th the group will be visited by FJ and Nugget a mule and burro, with owners Bill and Jill Cook who will talk about the superior qualities of the California Mule and it’s essential role in The Old Spanish Trail. Students will also have the opportunity to study their physique and practice life drawing the animals.
The Mural painting will take place on Saturday 28th April. The location is 111 East Main Street along Route 66. This is a community event and we welcome artists and local enthusiasts to join the MAIN STREET MURAL team in completing the 12’ x 32’ painting.
For further information regarding the Educational project, joining the painting team or supporting the group, please contact:
Tel: 760 257 1052.
A note to all enthusiastic trail finders:
Trips to the Spanish Canyon and inland desert areas are only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles and anyone interested in taking a trip to explore parts of the trail are advised to contact the Mojave River Valley museum as they hold regular field trips to explore these hidden treasure of the desert. As with any trail finding expedition, it is essential to travel with at least two vehicles and always carry plenty of water and a mobile phone.
Old Spanish trail
Schools Art History Program
& Mural Painting
This year Main Street Murals have developed their Mural in a Day event and are leading an educational art history program involving school children from the local community.
The group consists of children from Barstow's GATE program who are being led on a four month multi curricular project to learn about The Old Spanish Trail. The students will be spending the months leading up to the event researching the history and geography of the trail, looking into it’s significance as a trading route, building a life size mule and topographical map and reproducing some of the traded articles, then using the information discovered they will create designs of their own which will be used to make the final mural image.
The students will be guided by a team of experienced teachers and artists headed by Candice Michelson, David Brockhurst, Kathy Fierro and Jane Laraman-Brockhurst, who aim to make this a unique lesson in community history and creative art. The pupils will also have the opportunity to attend field trips and experience presentations by local specialist historians.
The mural Painting will take place on SATURDAY 28th APRIL. The site for the mural painting will be the East wall of 111 East Main Street, on the corner of 1st and Main Street – Route 66. This new addition will be the eighth mural of the existing walking gallery that decorates down town. (There are a total of 30 murals planned).
At Saturdays workshop David Brockhurst (the mural designer), showed the children how a mule was packed for the trail and took them through the first two stages of building a life sized animal. The children will complete the next two stages using paper covering the wire frame and then finally painting the mule sculpture which will be displayed with full pack at the mural painting site.
(David Brockhurst with the children & the mule sculpture frame with packs)
The group were also joined by Clifford Walker, (Director of the California Chapter of The Old Spanish Trail, historian, writer and lecturer) who talked about the local relevance of the trail and prepared the children for the field trip planned in March which will take the children to local areas where the trail actually passed through to find traces of the trail, look at Indian camps and mining areas.
The children also spent the day creating designs for their part of the mural and planning posters to advertise the event to the general public.
Last week the children were interviewed by the Desert Media group, which will be featured on Barstow's local Channel 6 during March.
Main Street Murals will be giving a presentation at the Mojave River Valley Museum at their General Meeting 28th March to talk about their current project and plans for further murals to celebrate the heritage to Barstow. This meeting is open to the general public.