All about Daggett
Trivia, Facts, and interesting information
Elevation 2,008 ft (612 m). Population 200 (2000).
Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).
Daggett is an unicorporated community located on Route 66, to the east of Barstow, in central San Bernardino County in the southeast of California. (Map of Daggett).
View of the Desert Market at Daggett
The History of Daggett, California
Visit our Barstow web page to learn more about the early history of this area.
The Mojave Trail was the first trade route linking California with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Gold rush miners and settlers used it to reach California.
It was marked out in the 1780s and crossed the Mojave desert north of what is now Daggett, following the Mojave River.
However, in 1882, the railroad had reached the area and opened a transcontinental rail link.
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 to the Colorado River in the east, that followed the Mojave River and other springs across the Mojave Desert.
Father Garces used the trail during his mission to the Hopi Indians in Arizona in 1776 and Jedediah Smith was the first American to use it westwards, from Utah in 1826.
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.
After the area became part of the US, Lt. Edward Fitzgerald "Ned" Beale surveyed a wagon trail in 1857, from Arkansas to California (1857); his Trail crossed the Colorado River at Ft. Mohave and linked up there with the Mojave Trail. The flow of settlers irked the Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi natives and Fort Cady (1860) and Fort Mohave (1859) were etablished to keep them under control.
Camp Cady - Fort Cady
The U.S. Army established a camp to the north of Daggett in 1860 and named it after Major Albemarle Cady, a friend of Major James Carleton who founded it during a campaign against the Paiute Indians. The fort was abandonded during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1863, after which it was garrisoned until the natives were finally pacified in 1871.
The place is 12 miles north of Dagett. A historical marker was placed at the site.
The Railroad in Daggett
Silver was found in the Calico Mountains in 1881 and the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) extended its line from Mojave to a point it named "Calico Junction" in 1882. It was named so after the closest town, (what is now the Calico Ghost Town). The following year it was renamed "Daggett" to avoid confusion.
Dagget, the name
The town was named after California's lieutenant governor (1883-87), John R. Daggett (1833 - 1919), who incidentally was the owner of the Bismark mine in Calico.
Photograph of J. R. Daggett. Source
At that time calcium borate (borax) was discovered in the mountains and also shipped to the new town. A mill was set up to process the silver ore, and remained in operation for 15 years until the silver price crashed and mining ended.
During 1883 the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (A & P - which later was absorbed by the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad) finished its line across New Mexico and Arizona and crossed the Colorado River into California at Needles. There it met its competitor, SP who had just finished its line that crossed the Mojave from Daggett.
In 1884 A &P forced its rival to sell them the line and by 1885 had reached Los Angeles through Cajon Pass.
In 1903, the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad built their line from Las Vegas to Los Angeles through Daggett (it later became part of the Union Pacific RR).
Calico was the terminus of two branch lines, the Columbia Mine Railway and the Borate & Daggett line.
The mines and the railroad made the town's economy grow until the borax mining stopped in the area closing the branch tracks. Then the railroads moved their maintenance yards to Barstow; and the local business followed them. This led to a decline in prosperity. Barstow overtook Daggett due to its key location on the N.O.T. and the Arrowhead highway. Finally a fire razed Daggett's commercial district in 1908, sealing the town's decline.
National Old Trails Highway
At that time the use of automobiles had grown considerably and the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) built a highway across the Mojave from Barstow to Needle as part of its road that linked Los Angeles and New York. It's course followed the tracks of the Santa Fe RR and passed through Daggett.
The Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) map of 1912 tells us that the old highway crossed to the north of the SF RR at Minneola, 2 mi. west of Newberry and kept on that side of the tracks til reaching Daggett, (4 mi. West) which had Garage, meals, lodging ad oil. Here it crossed to the south side of the tracks and headed west to Barstow reaching it after 9 miles.
Three years later the ACSC map infomed that Ther road through Minneola, Daggett to Barstow remained unchanged though there was more signeage along it. Daggett had "Meals - Lodgings, Gasoline - Oil".
The USGS survey along the Santa Fe railroad in 1915 points out that "Dagget ... is a supply source for mines and ranches the Calico Mountains north of that town..."
The 1920s N.O.T. guide mentions Daggett as having a population of 100. "Stores and garages, camp ground. Gateway to Famous Death Valley and 40 mule team borax field. Some of original old wagons can be seen here...."
US 66 in Daggett
Just before being incorporated into the brand new US Highway 66, in 1926, the road had a straighter course west of Newberry going through Minneola, passing Gale station and Dagget, which is shown as having a Post Office. It was also the terminus of the Arrowhead Trail to Salt Lake City. Nebo Station appeared before Barstow but no services provided.
Route 66 was relocated in 1928 to the south side of the SF Railroad tracks, and paved. It kept on that side of the railroad all the way into Barstow. This made the shops relocate to the south side of the tracks.
By 1960, traffic through the town -as measured at the California Agricultural Inspection Station in Daggett- had reached 357,000; the road was overcrowded and unsafe. This led to its replacement by I-40 during the late 1960s. The Interstate bypassed the town and the whole of Route 66 from there to Needles was also bypassed.
Where to Stay near Daggett
Lodging close to Daggett: Barstow:
> > Book your Hotel in nearby Barstow
More Lodging Near Daggett along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Daggett, California
Heading East.... In California
- 135 miles Needles
Further East.... In Arizona
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in California...
Book your hotel in neighboring Barstow
>> Check out the nearby RV campgrounds in Barstow or Newberry
The Weather in Daggett
Daggett is located in the Mojave Desert and therefore has a "mild desert climate": its weather is with very dry and hot.
Winter average temperatures (Jan) are quite cool: high 60.7°F (16°C) and the low is almost freezing: 36°F (2.2°C). Summer (Jul), high is a very hot: 104.2°F (40.1°C) with an average low of 73.3°F (22.3°C).
Daggett's rainfall is only 4.1 in. year (145 mm). It never snows in Daggett. The dry months are April, May and June with less than 0.15 in. per month (3.8 mm), more rain falls during July and Nov. through March with 0.4 to 0.6 in. each month (10 - 15 mm.). Expect strong thunderstorms during summer.
During summer make sure you stay hydrated. The hot and dry desert climate can dehydrate you quickly. Drink plenty of water and dress for the heat. Read more.
Daggett is located well beyond the western limits of the Rocky Montains, so there is no risk of tornados in this area.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Daggett
You can reach the ghost town driving along old Route 66 which here is named "Old National Trails Highway". Also from I-40 at Exit 7 (or from exits 5 or 12 east or west of town).
The Map of U.S. 66 in Daggett, California
See the alignment of US 66 in Dagget, on our California Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.
Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 into Daggett
Route 66 across California
U.S. Route 66 does not have any Byway or Historic designation in California despite the survival of long sections of original roadbed between Needles and Santa Monica.
Click Here for an overview of Route 66 across the state of California.
Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Daggett.
US 66 landmarks & sights in Daggett
Some classic attractions
Daggett and its Route 66 attractions
An old mining and Route 66 town
Daggett is a small town that once prospered with silver and borax mining and later with Route 66. Visit its classic Route 66 attractions: the California Agricultural Inspection Station, Kelley's Restaurant Sign, the Russian House and the "Mugwumps" Service Station. The old "historic" landmarks in the old town: Stone Hotel, Desert Market (Ryerson's General Store) and Fout's Garage with its historic marker. And nearby, Calico Ghost Town.
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Daggett
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove along Route 66 in 1946 compiling information for his self published"Guide Book to Highway 66". Thanks to him we have a good idea of what US 6 was like in those days. Below is what he had to say about Daggett:
"a tree shaded little old town that was formerly the location of smelters which handled the ore brought down from the nearby mountains. Some of the old store buildings remain, but the town is now quiet. There are two trailer camps but no cabins. Cafés, garage and gas stations.".
Below are the buildings that can still see in Daggett:
Begin your tour at the junction of Route 66 and C Steet, as you head west, to your right is an arrow, painted white. It used to point to Kelly's Restaurant, now gone, on the eastbound side of Route 66.
Kelley's Restaurant Sign
35650 County Route 66
Kelley's was one of Daggetts cafés, which was established in 1947 by James and Elsie Kelley.
Their Café also comprised a gas station and a motel. They had a sign shaped like a curved arrow with the word "Restaurant" written across it.
View of the "curved arrow" nowadays
Head west and at A Street and US 66 you will see, on the southeastern corner a 1970s filling station with a high flat canopy held up by two sturdy steel pipes and three empty gas pump areas. The office stands away from the canopy. Closed long ago.
Cross to the west side of A Street and see the curious house built on the southwestern corner Russian House:
A Street and Route 66
The Russian House in Daggett
It is a wood frame one floor with attic building with a very oddly shaped roof, a Bochka roof or, simply "Bochka", which in Russian means "barrel".
It is a typical traditional roof which is shaped like a half-cylinder with a peaked elevated upper part and the lower part of the cylinder curving into the walls.
It has windows in the front and sides and a door set in the facade. The attic has a a triangular ventilation opening in the peak of the roof.
To its right, along Route 66 is the Mugwumps Service Station:
Mugwumps Service Station
35405 County Route 66
Next to the "Russian House" is a 1950s styled fromer filling station. It has a flat roofed canopy held up by two steel tubes with the sign placed on top of the canopy.
It had two bays and an office.
View of the Mugwumps Service Station
Mugwumps is not a brand of gasoline, it is the name of a recent business that operated in the old building. Mugwump si an Algonquian word "mugquomp meaning "important person or war leader") it was used in American politics (US presidential election of 1884), and is also the name of a 1960s rock band and the in W. S. Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch",
Turn back, and head north (left) along the Daggett-Yermo Rd., you will cross the tracks:
Santa Fe - Union Pacific Railroad Junction
Look right, along the tracks at the grade crossing (level crossing) you will see three sets of tracks. The Santa Fe ones to the south run towards the east and the Union Pacific ones curve to the northeast, heading to Las Vegas.
Alf's Blacksmith Shop in Daggett. Google
Click image for street view
Take a right along Santa Fe Street (which was the 1926 -28) alignment of Route 66 and the N.O.T. highway before that. Then take a left along First Street to visit an Old Blacksmith Shop:
Alf's Blacksmith Shop
On First St. between Mojave Rd. and Santa Fe St.
Dating back to 1894, this wooden structure was where the large Borax wagons used to haul out the mineral from Death Valley were built (one is on exhibition at the site).
Go back to Santa Fe St. and on the next corner is the famous Store:
35596 Santa Fe St.
Originally a wood structure, it was rebuilt after the 1908 fire in cement, and was known as "Ryerson's General Store". It was a place where miners traded their gold dust in into dollars.
The place sold Shell gasoline and had two pumps in front of the store. It was a General Store and also sold tubes, tires and groceries. It had a flat canopy held up by two columns, jutting out in front of the store, which was later removed, as were the gas pumps.
It is relatively unchanged despite being over 100 years old, compare the image Desert Market shown above with this old photograph from the 1920s:
Old photo of the General Store in Daggett, CA
To the east (right) is the historic Stone Hotel:
35630 Santa Fe St.
Built in 1875 it originally had two stories, but after the 1908 fire, it was rebuilt with only one floor. It has two-feet-thick adobe and stone walls.
It was for many years the only hotel in the town.
To its left is another wooden structure, the People's General Store dating back to the early 1900s.
View of the Stone Hotel today
Compare it with its former appearance in the 1940s. The store is very deteriorated but the hotel is fine. The "pool" to the right of the hotel, behind the car is long gone.
1940s photo of the Stone Hotel in Daggett, CA
At the eastern end of the block, on the south side of the road is a historic place and a marker:
Forth St. and Santa Fe St.
It is a very rusty steel building (See its Street View).
Originally located at Marion, a "borax town" on Calico Dry Lake in the 1880s. It was later pulled to Daggett in 1896, by a twenty-mule team and placed by the Mojave River Bridge on the Daggett-Yermo road, where it served as the roundhouse for the narrow gauge railroad of the Waterloo Mine.
It was moved (again) to its present location in 1896 It later became a livery stable and a garage and auto repair shop on the N.O.T. The Fout brothers bought it in 1946 and ran it as a garage until the mid 1980s.
See the historic plaque of the Billy Holcomb Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus and the Daggett Historical Society locayted on the marker in the middle of the western facade of the building.
Tours & Itineraries
There are two attractions near Daggett, one is a Route 66 "classic", the other a restored mining Ghost Town:
California Agricultural Inspection Station
5.4 miles east of town, on Route 66 (See this Map with directions).
The station was established to prevent the introduction of diseased fruits and plants into California, to protect its crops and citrus groves.
Cars were stopped and checked here and at other stations along California's borders. Travelers were given an admission certificate to continue their journey.
The last station, whose remains can still be seen, was built in 1953 and closed in 1967 when I-40 reached Daggett. It replaced the 1930s station shown in the film The Grapes of Wrath, which in turn was expanded in the late 1930s.
At that time, during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, it also served as a "border control", turning back many of those seeking jobs in California.
See its Street View, it is on the north side of the highway, and you can also reach it from I-40's Exit 12. See it below.
Thumbnail Photograph of the Inspection Site in the film "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) by John Ford
The Inspection site today NPS
Calico Ghost Town
State Historical Landmark and "California's Silver Rush Ghost Town"
36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo
It is 6.8 miles north of Daggettt, see this Map with directions.
Mojave River Bridge
Just 0.5 mi. north of Daggett along the Daggett - Yermo (see location map), is the bridge across the Mohave River.
The "river" is a dry sandy area which sometimes may carry water on the surface. The river actually flows below the sandy bed.0.5 mi. north of town
The Mojave is an itermitent river that flows in a closed basin with an area of 4,580 sq. mi. (11.862 km2), its source is in the San Bernardino Mountains at almost 3,000 ft. altitude (900 m) and it discharges into Soda Lake, in the Mojave Desert.
110 mi long (177 km), its discharge varies from nil to a maximum of 70,600 cu. ft. (2.0000 m3). Most of its water flow is underground as the river bed is dry most of the year.
Father Garces named it Arroyo de los Mártires (Martyrs Creek) in 1776. When Jedediah Smith followed it westwards into California in 1826 he named it "Inconstant River".
The underwater course of the Mohave River was marked by vegetation growing next to it, and therefore was in sight of Route 66 and the SF Railroad all the way from Newberry to Victorville.
Keep northbound and you will reach the Ghost Town:
Established in 1881 it was restored by Walter Knott in 1951 and donated in 1966 to San Bernardino county.
This was the hub for 500 mines, including the famous mines: Odessa, Waterloo, Garfield, Maggie and Bismark among others, that produced $86 million in silver and $45 million in borax.
With the drop in silver prices in the mid-1890s the mines closed and the town disappeared. It is now a County Regional Park with shops, restaurants and camping facilities. Remember that the mines are off-limits and must not be approached for any reason!
The Silver mining town of Calico, CA
Visit the Calico Jail or Maggie Mine with the "Glory Hole" as well as the Calico-Odesssa Railroad. You can pan for gold or visit the replica of the 1880s schoolhouse.
Open daily 9 AM – 5 PM, except Christmas Day. Read more at the San Bernardino Co. Parks website.
The Alignment of Old Route 66 in Daggett
From Newberry Springs to Daggett
As mentioned above, the first road through Daggett 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.
1926 - 28 alignment
The road, from Newberry Springs to Daggett ran on the south side of the tracks of the Santa Fe Railroad up to Minneola, a small train stop. There it crossed to the north side of the tracks and went through Daggett along Santa Fe St., crossing to the south of the railway at the Dagget - Yermo Rd. and then turning west and heading straight towards Barstow.
US 66 was realigned to shorten it and make it safer so the two grade crossings were eliminated and the road kept a straight course west of Minneola, on the south side of the SF Railraod. Just west of that station, it passed through the California Agricultural Inspection Station. It bypassed the old commercial district in Daggett.
Marine Base at Nebo
West of Daggett, the road passes through a military facility so, you must take a detour at Nebo St., head south to I-40 (Exit 5) and head west to bypass it. Get off I-40 at Exit 2 and head west along E. Main St. in Barstow, this is shown in black in the Map above.
> > See the previous segment Ludlow to Newberry Springs (east)
> > See the next segment Ludlow to Barstow (west)
Outdoors, National and State Parks
Pisgah Crater in the Lavic Lake volcanic field
To the east of Daggett, past Newberry Springs. Read how to reach Pisgah Crater.
Mojave National Preserve
Kelso Dunes in Mohave Preserve California, Michael L. Baird
The Mojave National Preserve protects almost 1.6 million acres of desert habitat; it is a scenic National Park located just west of Needles, east of Barstow, between I-15 and I-40 and the California - Nevada state line.
Observe wildlife like the Desert Tortoise or Bighorn Sheep. Visit the "Hole in the Wall" area, the Cinder Cones, Cima Dome and Kelso Dunes.
Visit the National Parks website formore information.
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