along the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad and Old US 66, midway between
In 1883 the Southern Pacific laid the tracks through the Mojave Desert
between Needles and what is now
According to the book Dictionary of California Land Names, a 200-ton capacity ore mill operated here in 1903. I've been unable to confirm or deny that fact, but from all indications, the mill was probably located at a small mining camp near the Orange Blossom Mine.
During this period, five bored railroad employees wanted to create a
little fun and excitement for a passing passenger train, scheduled later in the
day. They gathered a huge amount of dry
brush, and dragged it into the center of Amboy Crater, a small volcanic cone
several miles to the southeast. As the
train was about to arrive in
In 1918 a major fire destroyed most of the wooden buildings in the town. Very few escaped the fire, and those that did
weren't used as much, as the town was dying.
The railroad had re-engineered the Ash Hill grade and improved the trackage so there was less need for the extra crews and
equipment to be stationed at
According to the WPA Guide to California-1939 edition, the small town's overnight accommodations and population of 20 was "...merely a shell of the rip-roaring camp that thrived here when the War Eagle and Orange Blossom mines to the north (Bristol Mtns) were active." In that book, mention is made of a few buildings and the remains of a huge oil tank with its sides blown in by the relentless wind.
During the 1940s and 1950s a few homes, guest cabins, gas station and Alice Lawrence's very popular Bagdad Café lined the north side of US 66 serving travelers along the bustling highway, and marked the shriveled remains of the once bustling railroad town. The cafe was the only spot in the region to have a jukebox and dance floor, and was a popular stopping place.
By the 1960s it was dead, and by the 1970s all that remained was rubble and a few concrete slabs. In 1973, when I-40 was completed to the north, the old site was forgotten.
All that remains is an unmanned, official US Weather Bureau
The 1985 movie Bagdad Cafe, by German film producer Percy Aldon was loosely based on
the town. The Bagdad
Café featured in the movie is actually located in nearby
Newberry Springs, also a faded old class D
On May 27, 2006, Bill Parrott wrote: “I read your writeup on
Note from Gary – Thanks Bill. Any memories you’d like to share???
This was our GHOST TOWN OF THE MONTH for September 1999.
· N˝ Sec 30, T6N, R11E, San Bernardino Meridian
· Latitude: 34.5827704 / 34° 34’ 58” N
· Longitude: -115.8755563 / 115° 52’ 32” W
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FIRST POSTED: September 01, 1999
LAST UPDATED: September 21, 2009
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