Bagdad Cemetery: Upon A Desert Driest

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…

We were lucky enough to follow along some of Union Pacific steam locomotive Big Boy 4014’s historic journey as it passed through the Mojave Desert from Colton, California to Cheyenne, Wyoming for restoration. Much to the delight of railfans like us, Big Boy’s first scheduled stop was at scenic Mormon Rocks in the Cajon Pass.

Big Boy’s next stop was The Harvey House Railroad Depot in Barstow, originally known as the Casa del Desierto. It was Big Boy’s first visit in 50 years. Would the bittersweet reunion be its last?

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