Barstow is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 80 and Farm Road
516, on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, five miles east of Pecos in
southwestern Ward County. The town was named for George E. Barstow,
a Rhode Island land promoter who established it.
The Texas and
Pacific Railway reached Barstow in 1881. Ten years later the
town site was laid out and a post office established.
"Abandon school in Barstow, Texas" (In 1969 residents of the Barstow Independent School District vote 185-2 to consolidate with the Pecos Independent School District.)
Barstow became the county seat when Ward County was organized in 1892. That same year George E. Barstow formed the Barstow Improvement Company to promote the sale of land irrigated by the Pecos River. He constructed irrigation canals and a dam and brought train loads of prospective settlers to the town in land promotions.
Barstow Bank - Constructed with Red Sand Stone from the near by Quito quarry
A red sandstone courthouse was constructed in 1893. The
courthouse was constructed from stoned quarry at nearby Quito
quarry. Stone for this quarry was used to build the first
courthouse in nearby Ector County in 1884 and the nationally
recognized Ellis County courthouse in Waxahachie, Texas and many
other public and private buildings in the late 19th century.
The farms around Barstow grew grapes, peaches, pears, and melons.
In 1904 the Barstow Irrigation Company won a silver medal for grapes
at the World's Fair. The same year an earthen dam on the
rain-swollen Pecos River burst, and the resulting floodwaters raised
soil salinity levels, thus ruining many of the farms.
In June 1938, after the discovery of oil in Winkler County and eastern
Ward County, Monahans replaced Barstow as the county seat of Ward County.
"Old football score board. If it could only talk"