About Danby, California
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation 1,345 ft (410 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone changes as you cross the California - Arizona state line. Time zone: Pacific (MST): UTC minus 8 hours. Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7).
Danby is a tiny unincorporated community, a virtual Ghost Town, located in the central western part of San Bernardino County, in southeastern California, on the old Route 66 which here is named "Old National Trails Highway". (Map of Danby).
The History of Danby, California
Visit our Needles web page to learn more about the early history of this area.
View of the Danby Service Station and its Mural
When the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (in those days it was named Atlantic and Pacific Railroad) acquired the tracks of a competitor SP Railroad from Needles to Barstow in 1884, it built a station at Danby.
The name, like those of all the stations located to the east of Amboy, all the way to Needles followed an alphabetical order (there were exceptions: the small sidings between those stations, which are shown below between brackets)
Amboy, (Saltus), (Altura), Bristol - also Bengal, Cadiz, (Siam), Danby, (Arimo), Essex, Fenner, (Piute), Goffs, Homer, (Bannock), Ibis, (Klinefelter), Java, Khartoum.
So Danby, was the station "D" and it provided water for the steam locomotives used by the railroad.
The name: Danby
It derives from an English surname which in turn refers to families who lived in the area of Danby, Yorkshire, England.
Danby (aldo Denby) comes from "Dane" (Danish -who invaded Britain ca. 900AD) and "by" which means farmstead or village. Therefore Danby means "farm of the Danes".
The railroad is said to have taken the name from towns in the Eastern U.S., so it is probably named after Danby in Vermont.
The Old Woman Mountains, to the west and south west of Danby were named after a rock that resembles the shape of an old woman and was named so by the local Chemehuevi Indians (No-mop-wits : "old woman").
Gold, silver and carbonates were discovered there in the 1870s, and the area near Danby became a mining zone.
Winton mine was located 7 mi. northeast of Danby and starting in 1893, shipped its gold ore to Danby station where it was moved on by rail to Kingman and smelted there.
Other mines were Wheel of Fortune and Warwick Mine (20 mi. south of Danby) active in the early 1900s.
Thirty miles south of Danby is the Danby Dry Lake, a salt flat, where salt was extracted since the 1890s. It was hauled out on carts drawn by burros (donkeys) and used for processing silver in the nearby mines at Dagget, Fenner and Danby. The cargo was taken to Danby sation, this went on until the early 1900s wehn silver price dropped and the salt extraction stopped.
The post office opened in 1893 asa a mail drop for the mines in the area, and when mining declined, the post office closed (1913).
The US Geological Survey along the Santa Fe Railroad in 1915 mentions that "By the judicious use of a small amount of water and fertilizer, date palms, cottonwoods and various other plants have been cultivated at Danby, making the place an oasis in the deser.". Water was piped in from a spring 4 miles to the northwest, in the mountains.
At that time the National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.) highway was built from Los Angeles to New York, and it followed the Santa Fe railroad, passing through Danby.
Route 66 was aligned using the N.O.T. in 1926 and paved in 1931. It brought tourists and some prosperity to the town, who catered to them. However, when I-40 was built further north in 1973, bypassing the Route 66 segment from Ludlow to Fenner -including Danby, business died and the town became what it is now, some scattered abandoned homes.
Where to Stay near Danby
Lodging close to Danby: Needles:
> > Book your Hotel in nearby Needles
More Lodging Near Danby along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Danby, California
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Further East.... In Arizona
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>> Check out RV campground near Danby
Weather in Danby
Weather widget for the town nearest Danby
Danby is located in the Mojave Desert; it has a "Subtropical desert climate" with very dry and hot weather including strong thunderstorms during the summer monsoon season.
Summer average high (Jul) is a hot 109.4°F (43°C) and the average low is a warm 78.8°F (26°C). During winter, the average high (Jan) is 68°F (20°C) and the average low is a cool 42.8°F (6°C).
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.
Very little rain falls in Danby: 6.8 in. (173 mm) yearly, over 24 rainy days each year, the dryest months are April to July. Snow is extremely rare.
Danby is located far to the west of the Rocky Montains so there is virtually no risk of any tornados in this area.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Danby
You can reach the town driving along old Route 66 which here is named "Old National Trails Highway". You can also reach it from I-40 at Exits 78, 100 and 107.
The Map of U.S. 66 in Danby, California
Display Danby Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
This is the map of Route 66 through Danby. The following color key applies only to Danby. Check the color key for other cities on their respective maps.
Pale Blue: the "old 1926 to 1931" alignment of Route 66 to Fenner and Essex from US 95 Arrowhead Junction and Exit 133 of I-40.
And for the Needles - to Exit 133, it is the 1926 to 1970s road. West of Essex it is the 1931 - 1973 alignment.
Red: I-40, where it covers the old roadbed of Route 66.
Black: the 1926 to 1931 alignment in Fenner, bypassed later when I-40 was built, and Goffs Rd. moved west to link at Exit 107.
Blue: The post 1931 alignment of Route 66 from Mountain Springs to Essex.
Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 into Danby
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 Danby.
Desert attractions: Danby, California
Ghost town sights
A Ghost Town on US 66 in the Mojave
Danby is a ghost town with some derelict buildings including a Service Station with a mural and the ruins of a ore processing plant.
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Danby
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse "Guide Book to Highway 66" written in 1946 provides a clear insight on what Route 66 was like during its Post-War heyday. He mentions Danby very briefly as being ten miles from Essex and that it had "A gas station, store, and a garage providing light repairs".
Mineral Processing Plant
At Route 66 and Danby Rd. take a left and head 1.7 mi. towards the tracks. Cross them (with care; look out for trains) and, on the south side of the tracks, next to where the station once stood, at Skeleton Pass Rd. are some ruins of an ore processing plant, rusting in the desert.
This is the Location of the Plant.
Head back to Route 66 and head west, to see the Mural on the ruined Service Station:
Service Station & Mural
Jus 0.3 mi. south of the junction widh Danby Rd., you will see some homes and an abandoned service station on the south - east side of the road (left).
The gas station is a gabled roof, with a wood frame structure with steel sheet siding with a canopy and has a mural painted on the wall that faces Route 66.
The mural depictis some pioneer day trappers in a forested area with mountains, snow and a lake, an unusual context in such a dry and desert environment.
See the street view of this place.
Tours and Nearby places to visit
The Alignment of Old Route 66 in Danby
From Essex to Danby
As mentioned above, the first road through Danby was the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) road (Los Angeles to New York) in the early 1910s.
At Danby the N.O.T. highway coming from Essex, crossed to the eastern side of the Santa Fe railroad and kept on that side all the way to Ludlow. At that time (1912) there was a garage and gasoline in Danby. The section from Danby through Siam to Cadiz had "heavy sand".
By 1915 the highway had been rmoved to the north side of the tracks and passed 1,7 mi (2.7 km) the west of Danby station, making it shorter, between Danby and Amboy (where it crossed to the south of the railroad and continued along the old alignment). In 1915 Danby had added "meals-lodgings" to the other services.
In 1922 there was a store at the junction of the N.O.T. with Danby Rd., road which linked Danby Station with Bonanza Spring and Clipper and Tom Reed mines to the west, in the Clipper Mountains. There also was a store with gas and oil on the N.O.T. about 1.5 mi. north of Danby.
Route 66 was aligned through Danby in 1926 and the road followed the same alignment from then until it was bypassed by I-40 in 1973.
Outdoors, National and State Parks
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, between I-40, I-15 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 N.P.S. website for further information.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.