Ghost Towns and Mines


A ghost town and railroad depot in the middle of the Mojave desert. The classic Mission style depot has been preserved and now serves as a visitor’s center for the Mojave National Preserve. Several small, ruined buildings nearby are all that remain of the original town.

The first depot at the site was built in 1905. During the steam era, helper engines were stationed here to assist trains going over Cima Hill. The current depot was built in 1923 for the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad (now part of the Union Pacific). Mining activity in the area brought the town’s population up to around 2000 people in the 1940’s, but dwindled a few years later as the mines played out. The depot was still in use up until 1986. A handful of people, mostly railroad workers, still live in the Kelso area.

Updated August 2010.

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Kelso, CA