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Hodge

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Hodge

A vanished town

Hodge is almost gone, few houses here and there. Its top attractions are the Hinkley Rd. Turnoff to the town of Hinkley of Erin Brokovich movie fame and the Two Sixes Sign on Route 66.

Hodge CA

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About Hodge California

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation 2,283 ft (696 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).

Hodge is a small unincorporated community located on Route 66, in south western San Bernardino County in the south of California. (Map of Hodge).

Two sixes sign in Hodge, California

Two sixes sign in Hodge
The "two sixes sign" in Hodge
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

The History of Hodge, California

Visit our Barstow web page to learn more about the early history of this area.

The Mojave Trail was opened in 1780, linking California with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. It crossed the Mojave desert north of the modern I-40 and US 66, following the Mojave River.

Mojave Trail or Mojave Road

The Natives used a trail from Cajon Pass, a gap between the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains in the south, that reached to the Colorado River in the east along the Mojave River and a series of water holes across the Mojave Desert.

Father Garces used the trail during his mission to the Hopi Indians in Arizona in 1776.

Jedediah Smith was the first American to use it westwards, from Utah in 1826, a few years after Mexico became independent from Spain (1821) and California became part of its territory.

By the late 1820s "The Old Spanish Trail" had been opened by Mexican traders in New Mexico and it linked with the Mojave Trail at Soda Lake, the drainage point of the Mojave River.

The US defeated Mexico in the 1846-48 war and California became a state of the Union in 1848.

The Mormons expanded west settling along the "Mormon Corridor" (areas settled from 1850 to 1890 by the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons), and they purchased the San Bernardino ranch in 1851, founding the town. San Bernardino County was formed in 1853.

The US Army Lt. Edward Fitzgerald "Ned" Beale surveyed a wagon trail to California in 1857, which crossed the Colorado River at Ft. Mohave (near Needles) linking up there with the Mojave Trail. A steady inflow of settlers used this Mojave Trail.

Several way stations operated along the Mojave River in the 1870s, one was located at Oro Grande, another near Helendale (Point of Rocks) which was ran by the Saunders. The next one was Cottonwood (present Hodge), ran by the Lightfoots.

The Railroad in Hodge

The Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) extended its line from Bakersfield east after silver was found near present Barstow, they continued it all the way to Needles, meeting their rival, the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (A & P - which later was absorbed by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad) there.

A&P had built their tracks across Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona, reaching Needles in 1883. In 1884 A and P threatened to build a line parallel to that of SP and thus forced their competitor to sell them the line from Needles to Barstow.

A&P extended its line to San Bernardino through Cajon Pass in 1885 and followed the Mojave River south, along the Mojave Trail, they built a station at Hodge and called it Cottonwood.

Hodge, the name

The railway renamed the siding "Hicks" but in 1926, it switched to Hodges after an important rancher of the Mojave, and journalist, Arthur Brisbane suggested to name it in honor of Gilbert and Robert Hodge, both owners of a ranch there in the Mojave since 1912. The Hodges were from Buffalo, NY.

The surname "Hodge" is a pet form of "Roger" brought by the Normans to England and derived from Germanic "Ro(d)ger" ('hrod' = renown and "geri" = spear). The English replaced the initial "R" for an "H" as they could not pronounce the French (Norman) "r" sound.

National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.)

In the early 1900s, the use of the automobile began to grow and better roads became necessary. The National Old Trails (N.O.T.) planned a road from Los Angeles to New York, and they aligned it next to the AT & Santa Fe railroad tracks from Cajon Pass to Needles. The road passed through Hodge.

The Automobile Club of Southern California's map of 1912 from Barstow to Victorville shows no sign of Lenwood and only mentions Todd, 8 miles south of Barstow followed by Cottonwood (current Hodge) another 8 miles away.

The next town was Oro Grande 17 miles to the south, followed by Victorville (5 mi.), which had "Gasoline"

There was another road, through Stoddard Well that would later be the route adopted by I-15.

Shortly after, Oro Grande offered "Gasoline -Oil", and Helen Station (modern Helendale) had appeared 10 mi. north of Oro Grande. Hicks (present Hodge) now appeared on the map replacing the name of Cottonwood.

By 1915 Victorville offered "Meals - Lodgings, Gasoline - Oil. Garage Repairs". That year, the road linking San Bernardino with Barstow through Cajon Pass became California highway LRN 31, neverthelss San Bernardino County upkept it until the mid-1920s.

The N.O.T. guidebook published in the 1920s does not even mention Hodge, it only mentions Barstow and Oro Grande.

Route 66 through Hodge

In 1926, the N.O.T. highway became part of the US highway network and the section west of New Mexico became US 66. Nevertheless Route 66 was known as the "National Old Trails Road" for many years in California.

The 1939 "Guide to the Golden State" published by the WPA informed that: "... South of BARSTOW, m., US 66 runs through billowing desert country; only the cottonwoods and willows on the banks of the Mojave River (R) relieve the tedium of rolling sandscape. HODGE, 11.7 m. (2,150 alt., 102 pop.), is a supply center. Its brick grammar school, perched on a slight rise (L) serves the far-flung desert district between Barstow and Oro Grande... The Mojave River nears the highway in Hodge. Screwbean mesquite and green desert willows grow abundantly along its banks. Distantly, the harsh, jagged mass of IRON MOUNTAIN protrudes (R) islandlike from the sand and gravel wastes..." (a very poetic description to say the least).

The school is gone but the scenery remains more or less the same.

In 1946. Jack Rittenhouse wrote (in his "Guidebook to US Highway 66") that "The only business establishment is a gas station with café and a few cabins. Railroad maintenance". None of this remains.

After World War II, traffic grew and peaked in 1960 with over 1.1 million travellers passed through Hodge that year. A new safer road was needed and it was finally built: I-15 and I-40 the interstate highways replaced both US 66 and US 91 in this area, bypassing Hodge.

The town vanished.

Where to Stay in Hodge

Lodging near Hodge

>> Book your Hotel in Barstow, Helendale or Victorville

More Lodging Near Hodge along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to Hodge, California

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Further East.... In Arizona

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Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> Check out the RV campground in Barstow or Victorville

Weather in Hodge

Weather widget for the town nearest Hodge (Helendale)

Hodge has a desert climate, winters are cool and summers are very hot.

Rain is scarce and averages 6.3 in. per year (161 mm) with the driest months being May to Sep (less than 0.2 in monthly - 5 mm).

The average temperatures (high) are, in summer (Jul) 99°F (37°C) and in winter (Jan) 60°F (16°C).The average Low is, during summer (Jul) 62°F (17°C) and in (Jan) winter: 32°F (0°C).

Snow seldom falls.

Route 66 and Hodge, CA
Location of Hodge on the Old Route 66

Tornado risk

Hodge is located very far, to the west of the Rocky Montains, therefore there is no risk of tornados in Hodge.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Hodge

You can reach Hodge along old Route 66 which here is named "Old National Trails Highway". Also from I-40 in the northeast or from I-15 (north, east and south).

Map of Route 66 in Hodge

, California.

The map below shows the different alignments of Route 66 near Hodge and the color key is for Hodge only. It is the following:
(for the other parts of the map, check the color key of the map of the corresponding city)

Pale Blue: the 1928 - 1970s Route 66 through Hodge.
Red: I-40, where it covers the old roadbed of Route 66 or where it must be driven as the old road is closed.
Black: the 1926 to 1970s alignment west of Dagget that can't be driven as it goes through a U.S. Marines Base (at Nebo).

See Route 66's alignment in California Map

Remove or restore State shading
 

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 through Hodge

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across California

U.S. Route 66 does not have any Byway or Historic designation in California despite having long sections of original roadbed between Needles and Santa Monica (like this one).

Click on the following link for an overview of Route 66 across the state of California.

Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Hodge

Sights and Attractions in Hodge, California

What to Do, Places to See

Hodge and its Route 66 attractions

Almost a Ghost Town

Hodge has the Hinkley Rd. Turnoff to the town of Hinkley of Erin Brokovich movie fame and the Two Sixes Sign on Route 66.

The "town" consists of a few scattered houses and some trees. There are two main landmarks to see. One south, the other north of Hodge:

The Two Sixes sign

1 mi. south of Hodge, to your right.

The sign is shown above, "Two Sixes Co."

Turn back and head north:

Hinkley Road Turnoff

1.3 mi. north of Hodge, on your left. See map and directions.

Hinkley Road linked Route 66 with the town of Hinkley, located 5 miles to the north.

The town became famous because of the film Erin Brokovich starred by Julia Roberts. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) of California operated a natural gas pipeline linking a Texas gas field with San Francisco. The company owned a compressor station in Hinkley where hexavalent chromium was used to fight corrosion in the cooling tower. The point is that the product was stored in unlined open-air ponds and it percolated through the soil tainting the underground drinking water supply. Chromium is toxic and the case was finally settled in 1996 for $333 million making it the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in the US. The water is still being monitored to this day.

On the northwestern corner of the junction, are the foundations of a now razed service station.

Tours & Itineraries

Head south and visit Victorville or north, through Lenwood to Barstow.

The Alignment of Old Route 66 in Hodge

From Barstow to Hodge

route 66 shield California

As mentioned above, the first road through Hodge was the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) road which was a highway that was projected to link New York and Los Angeles in the early 1910s. This road ran close to the Santa Fe Railroad between Victorville and Needles.

It is an easy 12 mile drive from Barstow to Hodge (going through Lenwood) along Old Route 66. This is Map with Directions.

 

> > See the previous segment Ludlow to Barstow (east)

> > See this segment Barstow to Victorville (west)

> > See the next segment San Bernardino to Victorville (west)

Sources

Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

A Guide to the Golden State, by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, Hastings House, New York, 1939.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License