Goffs Schoolhouse Museum – Goffs, California - Atlas Obscura

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Goffs Schoolhouse Museum

Goffs, California

Built as a schoolhouse in 1914, this Mission-style building has also served as a dancehall, a library, an Army canteen, and now a cultural museum. 


The Goffs Schoolhouse Museum and associated 75-acre site is an absolute throwback to 19th-century mining, 1914 grade school, World War II training camp (Camp Goffs), an original Route 66 stopover, and is considered the Gateway to the Mojave National Preserve.

The one-room Goffs Schoolhouse was built in 1914. For 23 years it served as a school as well as a community center. The Mission-style building hosted dances as well as a branch of the county library. The school closed in 1937, and soon after the building was repurposed as a canteen for the Desert Training Center, the largest Army training facility in the United States during World War II.

Today, the former schoolhouse has been turned into a museum owned and managed by the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. Situated along the original Route 66 in Goffs, California this place is quirky and eclectic and hosts the original Mojave Road School Bus, Frog, and Gnome monuments (bring your own to leave), among many other interesting artifacts.

The site was founded by the renowned Mojave Desert explorer and historian Dennis Casebier (1934-2021). Goffs is the epicenter for the Mojave Road and East Mojave Heritage Trail explorations given both were popularized and founded by Casebier. 

Bring your lunch and eat at the Flywheel Cafe and walk the “Boulevard” lined with signs, a train depot, and artifacts from bygone eras. If 19th-century mining is your thing, then Goffs is for you. There are multiple working mills, gyrators, and crushers from the 1800s—you can even sign up to take a certification course to become a genuine millwright.

The site is also home to the Dennis Casebier library, the richest, most extensive, and comprehensive historical archive on all things and people related to the Mojave Desert.

Know Before You Go

Plan your trip to include other nearby attractions like the stunning Mitchell Caverns (advanced reservation required) and also camping if you are a member. Onsite camping at Goffs is free for MDHCA Members with advanced notice. Individuals, primitive, RV, or group - all can be accommodated.


Hours can vary by season so it is best to call or check in advance to plan your trip.

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