Amboy Cemetery: Dust in the Wind

When Roy’s Hotel is not ground zero for multiple thriller film shoots or welcoming the throngs of dusty tourists getting their fair share of the Route 66 experience, the quiet of Amboy settles in all around.

The solitude is so profound it’s almost deafening. The peace of the ghost town with its long-abandoned St. Raymond Church and nearby pioneer graveyard consumes you. It invites you to explore and renew.

Give yourself time to absorb this little time capsule of a town and its cemetery just a bit east on Route 66…

Take a short walk on this quiet mountain trail, surrounded by pines and open spaces, and you see it up ahead. White crosses in a semi-circle, around the gnarled truck of a tree. So, what have you stumbled into here? Well, give us a minute or two and we’ll tell you about the mountain town that refused to live.

Here, just above the highway, are about 25 marked graves in the little cemetery that served the town mining town known as Doble. The names of those interred here, except for one child, are a mystery. crosses were placed here by Boy Scouts during the 1940s.

Before it was Doble, the place was known as “Bairdstown.” It came to life after the brothers Carter filed four gold mining claims in 1873, on the mountainside that now wears their name. The utterance of the word ‘gold’ was usually all it took, and the rush was on, probably before the brothers finished unpacking their picks and shovels…

Collected at Rand District Cemetery are the final resting places of some five generations of dream chasers, miners, merchants, ranchers, freighters, madams, promoters, vigilantes, teachers, movers and shakers, loafers and busy bodies; most from somewhere else, from all over the world, all brought here by the winds of fortune, and caught, like nuggets, in holes in the ground.

Burro Schmidt, famous for digging a half mile tunnel through a solid granite mountain for 38 years, left his beloved town only twice in his lifetime. Little did he know as happenstance would have it that years after his death a widow by the name of Tonie would pay the ultimate tribute to the miner by protecting his legacy for the rest of her life, and spending eternity next to his grave…

There are at least ten Bagdad’s in America. They survive in federal geological surveys and maps of California, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, New York and Tennessee. Only three have post offices.

But only one Bagdad holds the distinction of having once thrived in the often inhospitable environs of the Mojave Desert.

Bagdad, California survived 767 consecutive days without precipitation.

Many things changed, but the desolation, searing temperatures, and lack of rain were just some of the things you could count on that wouldn’t.

Bagdad continued to survive the many changes that occurred with mining, railroads and Route 66, but the opening of the new interstate would prove to be its defeat…

Like so many pioneer towns in the Mojave Desert established by necessity for its connection to the railroads, Ludlow Cemetery is serenaded by the rumble of frequent trains.

The cemetery appears to have approximately 50 visible graves. All but three are marked by wooden crosses with no information. Only seven grave sites have been identified.

Ludlow was founded in 1882, brought about by the establishment of the Southern Pacific Railroad until May 4, 1897 when it became the Santa Fe Railway.

This was the main line and connection with Los Angeles…

Remember, while exploring remote parts of the desert, the true test of character is doing the right thing, even if nobody else is watching.

Rustic cemeteries dot the outskirts of Old West ghost towns where the early inhabitants lay in eternal rest. We thank you for being mindful and respectful of the departed. Their lives touched many and in retrospect added to the complex tapestry of history known as the Mojave Desert.

Modern unsung heroes continue to pay homage to their legacies…

“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do.”

—John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Perhaps no dusty desert town from the 19th Century exemplified Steinbeck’s quote better than Daggett, California. Shootouts, saloons, hangings and frontier justice, the old town had it all, and so much more…

Sandwiched between Old Route 66 and Interstate 40, Daggett Pioneer Cemetery goes virtually unnoticed by passerby’s. There is a distinct sense of peace among the weathered tombstones and grave markers found here. Even 20 years after my initial visit, it still is a palpable feeling and it remains one of our favorite historic cemeteries…

Grab a jackass, a single blanket and a jug of Oh Be Joyful and come with us to meet some of the most colorful characters in one of Death Valley’s most notorious ghost towns. A pivotal scene from the 1969 movie “Easy Rider” was even filmed here. But it sure wasn’t the last.

Ballarat, Baby…

Did you know there’s a fascinating connection between Seligman, Arizona, the Panama Canal and President Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln? Despite Seligman Cemetery’s close proximity to busy Interstate 40 and nearby railroad tracks, the cemetery imbues a sense of peace and majesty of the not-forgotten past…

Create Account



Log In Your Account