February 4, 2004

Cultural center struggles to cope with visitors

Victorville Daily Press

GOFFS — Promoters of the Goffs Cultural Center say they've been almost too successful in their efforts to attract guests.

Visitors have been flocking to monthly open houses at the remote east Mojave cultural center in such great numbers that there haven't been enough volunteers to handle them all.

The cultural center, about two hours east of Barstow, is a 70-acre property with artifacts and historical displays in more than a dozen buildings, one of which is a historic schoolhouse.

More than 600 people visited the center last year, mostly during the open houses, said Helen Baker, a San Fernando Valley resident who organizes the events as a volunteer for the nonprofit Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association.

Although the center had open houses prior to last year, it didn't have a regular schedule and didn't publicize them much. The center normally had about 100 visitors a year.

The center adopted a regular schedule for open houses and got publicity from media outlets in 2003, and more people started pouring in.

"It's just been a win-win, except that we've got so many people coming that we need more volunteers," she said. "There's all kinds of people who come to Goffs — people interested in history, people interested in four-wheeling, people interested in touring the desert."

Goffs had open houses the first weekend of every month last year except in July, August and September, when it's too hot, Baker said. Its 2004 open houses are on the same schedule.

Last year's visitors were a mix of out-of-state tourists and California residents, many stopping off on their way to or from Laughlin, Nev., Baker said.

To volunteer for an open house weekend, or for more information, call Jo Ann Casebier at 733-4482. Information is also online at www.mdhca.org.

The center is in Goffs at 37198 Lanfair Road, just off National Old Trails Road.