Monday, August 26, 2013

Ed's Camp, Arizona -- Route 66 Ghost Town

Like Cool Springs, that I covered in an earlier post, Ed's Camp wouldn't really qualify as an actual town, but it was clearly a desert oasis on the original Old Trails Highway (later renamed Route 66), until it was bypassed by a new alignment of the road in 1952, that took most of the traffic, and almost all of the business elsewhere. In spite of this, Ed's Camp still did business (of some sort or another for many years).

Ed's Camp provided the same services that all the little towns on Route 66 did. Food, Gas, repairs, lodging, restrooms and cooling water for your radiator. In addition, Ed's Camp even had a trading post and trailer park. Judging by where it's located, I'm sure there were many miners being served there as well. The owner of the place, Ed Edgerton, was himself a local miner. He probably decided that he could find more gold out of the mines, than in them and when Route 66 came through the area in 1926, Ed's Camp was opened soon after.  

I've mentioned a few times that I spent a lot of time in these desert areas with my granny and her husband when I was young. This is one of the places that I clearly remember. I also remember Ed. If I'm not mistaken (and I probably am), he was a friend of my step-grandfather. All I know about their friendship is that they were both from cold climates and ended up in the southwestern deserts because of their health. Even when I was a kid and this place was open, I remember it being pretty ramshackle. 

 The owner claimed that this Saguaro cactus was the only one on Route 66. 

Well, now I guess there aren't any!



 This was the gate into Little Meadows. It was the trailer park at Ed's Camp. There is some VERY historical significance to this spot (long before Ed arrived), but I can't seem to find it on my computer right now. I'll add it on later.

The little building to the left contains a couple of the cabins you could rent. I think that the funky looking metal building on the right is the restrooms.  How would you like to be sitting in that thing when it's about 110 F outside? There are many No Trespassing signs on the property. I guess they mean it, because if you hang around too long there (even on the shoulder of the highway), there is somebody there with a shotgun to tell you to move along. I didn't have the pleasure of meeting that person, but many have (allegedly).

 Same spot from a little different angle

 The place is covered with vintage equipment

This place was across the street. The phone booth blew my mind. I'm sure it never worked.
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I'm not sure if you've heard anything about these crazy thunderstorms in part of the SoCal mountains and deserts on the news, but we are in the middle of it. The closest town to us is Julian and it had flash floods from all the rain washing down from the mountains (where we are). We were surrounded by dirt roads that turned into rivers this afternoon. Our poor cat (that travels with us) would have hidden in the glove box if he could fit in it. Our RV doesn't really have a glove box, but you know what I mean, right?

We've been doing some heavy duty hiking over the last two weeks, to some very interesting places. More on that later...

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52 comments:

  1. When I think of "Ed" and a desert, I think Abbey... Great photos, no shotgun guy, eh? Maybe they weren't cooking meth the day you stopped by. :)

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  2. Too bad about the 'policing' this looks line a great place to explore.

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  3. Hope you don't get caught in any flash floods.
    Not much remains of that place. And no, I wouldn't want to use the outhouse.

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  4. oh, the flash flooding sounds awful! i'm sorry!

    this is a most interesting place. i'd have to respect the no trespassing signs, though. :)

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  5. That place is ripe with stories. I wonder how many ghosts haunt it! We're having hot and dry weather here in MN. Go figure. Happy trails!

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  6. I wonder why the owners really mean no trespassing! Being suspicious, I always wonder what someone is hiding.

    Very cool place to take photos.

    Stay safe!

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  7. Ah, poor Kitty!! Your ghost towns always fascinate me, Pat! Great shots and info!! That part of country has always amazed me. I've been to a number of these in past years, but nothing like your travels!! Thanks for sharing! Take care!

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  8. As EG Camera Girl said, Stay safe!

    Those flash floods are nothing to mess with.

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  9. Ooooooh... flooding isn't good! Poor kitty. Be careful!

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  10. Looks like a scene out of a horror movie. I'd have no problem with "No Trespassing."

    Do be careful, Pat.
    xoRobyn

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  11. What a fun trip you had on old Route 66. I would love to travel that road again.

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  12. Yipes on your thunderstorms... What I keep reading about now are the horrible wildfires near Yosemite.. Hope they can save the Sequoias... Scary!

    Ed's Camp was probably a 'bustling' place in its day.. People were mining trying to get rich!!!! BUT--it's sad to see those areas now... All run down --and nobody around to keep the area 'alive'....

    Hope you have enjoyed your hiking..
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  13. You
    ve got some of the best fodder for my imagination right here with your terrific photos. Thank you!

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  14. I would love to explore a place like this.

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  15. There are some interesting rusting pieces in that shed. Cool little town.

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  16. I know I know you guys are always careful out there, so I won't say a darn thing.

    Amazing outpost Ed's Camp is... what the heck would the guy with the shotgun be protecting? Maybe we shouldn't think about it.

    Neat post, I love what you do out there and thank you for sharing the fun.

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  17. Mr Ed had quite the place in the day, love it!

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  18. I don't know which I love more...your travels or that your cat travels with you!!! You do find the most unusual spots!!!

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  19. Maybe they filmed The Hills Have Eyes somewhere near here. Looks a little eerie...and a guy with a shotgun??? Where do you think he lives?

    Another great old place in the desert. I think it's pretty cool you were there as a kid and then returned years later.

    Watch out for mud slides!!

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  20. Great potos. Those ghost towns are amazing. Greetings.

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  21. Sage - Ed Abbey! I haven't heard that name in long time. Thanks! I think this place is even too remote to be a meth lab. Maybe not though...

    Wayne - Oh yeah! I'd love to get in there.

    Alex - We didn't get caught in any, but they were all over the area. Including about 20 feet from our RV.

    TexWisGirl - It all ended up okay! I especially respect those signs in Arizona. It seems like every person you meet is carry a firearm of some sort.

    Mary - I totally agree with you! SO much history in these places.

    Eg CameraGirl - There is a lot of old equipment on the property, but other than that. I have no idea. Thanks!

    Sylvia - Yeah, he was just a little freaked out. Thanks Sylvia! You take care also.

    marlu - I will do my best! So far so good! I stay away from those things.

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  22. I'd like to know what the "vintage equipment" was. Old machinery is really cool.

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  23. I don't think I would ever want to sit in that bathroom, summer or winter!! :) So many towns...

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  24. Ms. A - Not unless your name is Noah! The cat is just find! I think it was something new for him.

    Robyn - It was a bit creepy! I generally honor those signs, but if there is not sign, it's open season!

    Kay - Thanks Kay! It's been many fun trips!

    Betsy - The Yosemite fire is terrible, it's too bad the news media doesn't mention the other TEN major wildfires currently burning in California. It takes a lot for redwoods to burn, so maybe with some help... Ed's camp was pretty cool back then and kind of sad now. The hiking was great!

    Shelly - Thanks Shelly! Believe me, I feel the same way. These places fill me up with questions.

    msmariah - That is exactly why we go there!

    M Pax - There sure are, I'm pretty sure a lot of it is mining stuff.

    Sallie - I am ALWAYS on alert, but thanks! Maybe he's protecting history! Thanks Sallie! It's my pleasure...

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  25. Brian - Mr. Ed! Oh Wilbur! If I remember correctly, it never really did look very nice, but it was interesting.

    TheChieftess - Thanks Kathryn! The cat (Newman) is something special. Not only is he more like a dog than a cat, he is also as big as a medium sized dog. He also growls like a dog. As to the unusual spots, we are just getting started! I have so many places on my "to see" list and so many places we've already been to, but I haven't had time to get the posts together yet.

    Mama Zen - Thanks so much!

    Chuck - They just might have Chuck! I know right where he lives. It's in an RV pretty close to the building. I've also heard that sometimes it's a woman that comes out with the shotgun. I've been to all of these places as a kid, but I don't have as many memories relating to some of them. Mud AND ash slides these days...

    ladyfi - Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

    Japy - Thanks Japy! We also think they are amazing.

    TS Hendrik - I think it was mostly mining stuff. Hard to tell though, many of the folks in the more desolate parts of the desert, just seem to collect things.

    Baby Sister - Winter, would be just fine if you held your nose. Yep, so many towns and so little time to see them.

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  26. I can only think "if those walls could talk"
    What another wonderful little ghost town and gorgeous photos
    Thank you

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  27. I love that you took a picture of the no trespassing sign. Considering that you don't have photos of the inside of the building, I assume that you obeyed the sign? I'm amazed that you can come across these time capsules!

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  28. Every time I read your blog I just add another destination to my list of places to go.:) Hope you are well!

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  29. What an amazing place! And I love the backstory about your granny and step-grandad. It brings the whole spectrum into greater focus. Be careful out there. I see thunder clouds, hear thunder and see lightening in the distance...

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  30. Mynx - I agree! The stories they could tell us... Thanks so much, it's my pleasure.

    Carly - It was surrounded by barbed wired and no trespassing signs and I didn't want to get into a gun fight over a few photos, so I stayed on my side of the fence.! The desert is full of "time capsules!"

    TVA - I am well and hope you are also. You should see my list! It has 637 places on it (all in the southwest). I'm afraid to start a wider list.

    Stickup Artist - I think its amazing also! We just got home from the western part of Anza-Borrego, Mt. Laguna and Cuyamaca. On Sunday, that storm HAMMERED us. Seriously...

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  31. Very interesting!You prepared a great article for this desert camp, well done!Somehow it reminds me some movie scenery!
    Léia

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  32. it seems like Ed's campers are long gone....

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  33. Wow, it looks awesome! Would be so tempting to go and look around. But yeah, I can imagine some shotgun, chainsaw wielding redneck ready to make liverwurst out of your giblets... or something like that...

    Fascinating but equally creepy!

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  34. It's sad to see a place into which somebody put so much work fading away like that. But it does make for great photos.

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  35. Love this one, although if I ever met the man with the shotgun I think I would poop my pants!!!

    I wonder why they want people out of there so badly? Meth labs?

    I watch too much Breaking Bad!

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  36. Crazy looking place - just looks like people got up one morning and left!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  37. Leia - Thanks so much! Yes, scary movie scenery...

    DEZMOND - Long long gone! It's too hot to camp there anyway.

    Anthony - It would be a great place to explore. I think the chainsaw would be the scarier of the two.

    Al - I agree! It is totally bittersweet.

    Kato - Thanks! Well, in Arizona you'd be pooping all the time, because so many of the people walk around armed. I would say a meth lab would be a pretty good guess, but I doubt it. I have no idea why I do, but I do. Breaking Bad. I'm just about to start watching that from episode one.

    Stewart - It is crazy looking! There is much more to the history of this place, but I didn't include it all.

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  38. me too...I'm wondering why/what they are trying to protect prying eyes from. Play safe, Pat.

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  39. Rosemary - Hard to tell! It sure isn't the decorations...

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  40. I grew up in Kingman and drove by Ed's Camp many times. My best friends Dad knew Ed and told me lots of interesting things about him. Ed probably knew more about the geology of Mohave County than any other living person. He told my friends Dad (Dennis) that Dennis could bring him a rock from any part of the county and Ed would tell him where he got it. Dennis tested him on this and the old man got it right every time. The old man also knew about places that wre only rumored about

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  41. I just wrote a bunch of stuff about Ed's Camp but I'm afraid it some how got deleted. Hard to type on a cell phone. Lots of fascinating things about old Ed-he said he had met Madame Curie and even had these old stereo graphic photographs to prove it. When I read up on Marie Curie I found that she had indeed made two trips to the American Southwest to procure the ore from which she isolated Polonium and Radium. If I remember correctly my friends dad made audio recordings of talks with Ed. I should inquire as to whether those tapes still exist .

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  42. Matt Rounseville - Thanks so much for the comments. Very interesting stuff. Especially the Madame Curie part. I don't remember too much about Ed (other than he was a friend on my step-granddad), but I sure loved running around his place. There was so much to see and do there. What you said about your friend's dad, makes me wonder if he knew by granny or step-grandfather. My granny was a Mojave expert also. She always took photos of everything and wrote the who, what, when and where on the back of them. She also kept detailed journals on everything. She died quite a while ago and unfortunately, her photos and journals are nowhere to be found. I'm still looking though. I hope you are able to find those recordings. That would be fantastic. I have some more blog posts in draft form to post about the Kingman area, I'll try to get to it soon. If you want, you could sign up to receive my blog posts via email. The link to do that is near the top right of the page. Your email will NEVER be used for anything other than receive a notice that I've posted and what the subject is. Thanks again Matt. I appreciate your great comments.

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  43. Please no not write about things you dont know much about. And it says no trespassing becauce people just cant resist whats not theirs thanks the owner

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  44. Anonymous - I didn't write one single negative thing about the place and I didn't question why there were "no trespassing" signs. I totally understand and would do the same thing. I probably have more ties to the property than you do and I will write about it anytime I choose.

    If in fact, you are the owner, why don't you do something with the place? When we used to go there, it was a great. Now, it's a crap hole. You are just sitting there letting the history of the place rot and rust away. Shame on you for that...

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  45. I was at Ed's Camp in April 2003 and again in May 2005 and from looking at my pictures hardly anything changed except for more rust on the old refrigerators and the fact that the water heater fell over. Then I was through there in March of 2014 and it looks like someone is trying to clean up the area and who knows, maybe revive it, it is only a few miles from Oatman. Ed's Camp would make a nice tourist stop

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  46. Doug - Sorry about the delay! Yep, places like don't change much at all. It's good to hear that somebody is cleaning it up a bit. Thanks for reading my post and for your comment.

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  47. Pat, thanks for posting. As a kid I use to camp there with my family. My father was an avid rock hound so we would camp there 4 or 5 times a year or more. I had the pleasure of meeting Ed and another couple that lived there, Martin & Anna Cuesta of Cuesta claims. Thou it's hard to remember much about Ed (he passed when I was 7 or 8) I remember he was quite a character. Martin & Anna were like family and I still have and cherish some very old pictures that Anna gave me. Thanks again, you have reminded me of some of the best memories of my life. And yes I have on many occasions used the outhouse.

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  48. Joe Eldridge - My pleasure Joe! Part of your experiences there sounds just like mine. Maybe we were even there at the same time! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Joe.

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  49. Hi, I also camped with my parents in a trailer at Ed's Camp in the 50s and 60s. I knew Martin and Anna Cuesta very well, my Dad was a rockhound and found lots of gem-grade fire agate up the road at their diggings. I knew Ed Edgerton as well, he had an old car and lived in an old trailer just east of the main Ed's Camp building. Originally (early 60s) the Texaco hand-pump glass gas pumps worked, there was a water faucet (albeit slow) in the middle of the island as well as the big seguaro. Martin used to take us kids out in his 1950 Willys jeep, all the way up the pipeline "road" to Sitgreaves Pass. Then, Goldroad was a ghost town, no mining like now. The "cut" was visible from the road, only protected by chain link fence pieces. When you threw a rock in, it bounced for a LONG time (5,000 ft. deep?). The Westaways, Williams, Blaneys, and Vlahos camped with their trailers and others from the San Fernando Valley Mineral & Gem Society there for years.

    Sad to see it so decrepit now. Someone should fix it up like Cool Springs did.

    Dave Westaway

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  50. Dave Westaway - It was such a great way to grow up. I could hardly get my own kids to go outside. I'm really happy that one of my granddaughters loves the old places like I do. I wish she could have experienced them back in the day. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this great comment.

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