"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kelso Ghost Town


Located 20 or so miles North of I-40 in the Mohave national Preserve, is the ghost town of Kelso.  Once an important location for the Union Pacific railroad as a helper engine location.  As the old steam trains had problems getting over the mountains in both directions, there were locomotives and crews stationed in Kelso whose only job was to help the trains to the top of the pass and then return.

Not much left there now but remnants of bygone days.  The old store and post office, as well as the local jail. The jail originally had a shed over it to provide shade during the summer months.

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As a stop was always needed to connect the helper locomotives, the railroad built a really nice depot there.  Though it too, had fallen into disrepair, it has been lovingly restored by the NPS and is the centerpiece of what is left of the town.  It houses the NPS visitor center, a lunch counter that reflects the period, and a museum of the railroad and the area.

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The lunch counter.

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Miscellaneous shots from around the museum.  There were many rooms full of interesting things.

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Not many trains stop at Kelso any more.  Most just blow right by the old depot.

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But if one did happen to stop, things won’t look much different than they did 75 years ago.  The veranda is waiting.

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If you are ever in the area, be sure and stop for a visit.  It is well worth a 30 mile detour off I-40..…..jc


  1. Another great find...the modern day Lewis and Clark Journey continues...thanks for sharing..thanks for sharing..Horst sends

  2. The veranada pic is priceless...nice job!

  3. My brother has been trying to get me there. Your pictures make me want to go now. Thanks.

  4. Being a bit of a railfan, I have heard about Kelso from time to time. Your good photos and narrative have locked it in for me ! It's on our list now.

  5. That looks like one of those out of the way very interesting finds.

  6. Loved the depot. But that jail -- is that the lattice building? My first thought was that there was no privacy when they had to go to the bathroom! Bet that was an effective crime deterrent. :)

    1. Yep. The lattice structure. Two rooms. Sign said it was mostly used for drunk and disorderly folks. One night was enough for most of them, i'm sure.

  7. Jerry, you sure are great at finding these historic and off the beaten path type places! Such history!
    I loved the lunch counter...could just imagine it full of old travelers.


Thanks for looking, and comments are welcome.