About Fenner, California
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation 2,100 ft (600 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).
Fenner is an unincorporated community located in western San Bernardino County, in southeastern California. (Map of Fenner).
View of Fenner from Route 66
Check our Needles page for the early history of the region.
After the natives were subdued in Arizona, the transcontinental rail link was built by two competing railroads: The Huntington and the Southern Pacific (SP) which laid a line from Barstow to Needles across the Mojave in 1883 and the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (A&P) from New Mexico westwards. SP sold its line to A& in 1884 and later it was absorbed by the AT & Santa Fe Railway.
Fenner was a siding on this railroad, in the Mojave, on the western flank of the Piute range of mountains and was named due to a curious method used by the railroad: all the stations between Amboy and Needles were named following an alphabetical order from west to east (however there were exceptions: the small sidings between those stations, shown below between brackets)
Amboy, (Saltus), (Altura), Bristol, Cadiz, (Siam), Danby, (Arimo), Essex, Fenner, (Piute), Goffs, Homer, (Bannock), Ibis, (Klinefelter), Java, Khartoum.
The name: Fenner
A Fen is a wetland, like a bog; a low lying marshy area. And a "Fenner" (also Venner) was either a person who lived in a fen. The surname is found in Germany, Britain and the Netherlands. Later it was applied to those who drained fens, dissecating them, a process that began in the 9th century.
It was merely a stop on the railroad until in the 1910s the National Old Trails Highway (N.O.T.) was built from Los Angeles to Needles, passing through Fenner. This brought a growing flow of travellers and a service station opened in 1912. By 1015 it had added "meals - lodgings".
The road of course was unpaved, and south towards Essex there was "light sand" (in those days Essex offered no services to the traveller). This first road, ran further to the west of the Santa Fe Railroad; in the early 1920s it was realigned near the tracks.
By 1924 Fenner had "Hotel, Gas, Oil" and in 1926 when US 66 was created, it was aligned along the old N.O.T. road.
Despite being in the Mojave Desert, the "town" got its water from Fenner Spring, located Southeast of the settlement in the Piute Mountains, so trees could grow under irrigation.
But prosperity did not last. Only five years later Route 66 was realigned, bypassing Fenner. The new paved road (shown in Blue in the map below), passed 3 miles south of Fenner. This led to the demise of Fenner and the uspurge of Essex (which was on the new alignment). Route 66 is now known as Goffs Road.
When I-40 was built across the desert, an Exit (107) was built just next to Fenner, so the famous Gas station there does get plenty of customers.
Where to Stay near Fenner
Lodging close to Fenner: Needles:
> > Book your Hotel in nearby Needles
More Lodging Near Fenner along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Fenner, California
Heading East.... In California
- 36 miles.Needles
Further East.... In Arizona
West, Hotels & Motels in California...
Close to Route 66 ...
- 50 miles. Mojave City Arizona
- 59 miles. Bullhead City Arizona
- 60 miles. Laughlin Nevada
- 78 miles. Lake Havasu Arizona
- 120 miles. Las Vegas Nevada
Book your hotel in neighboring Needles:
>> Check out RV campground near Fenner
Weather in Fenner
Weather widget for the town nearest Fenner
Fenner is in the Mojave and has very hot weather, with a "Subtropical desert climate" that is both dry and hot, with strong thunderstorms during the summer monsoon season.
Summer average high (Jul) 109.4°F (43°C) and average low 78.8°F (26°C). During winter, the average high (Jan) is 68°F (20°C) and the average low 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.
Rain is scarce in Fenner; only 6.8 in. (173 mm) fall every year with only 25 rainy days per year with April to July being the dryest period. Snow is very uncommon.
As Fenner is located far to the west of the Rocky Montains there is virtually zero risk of tornados in the area.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Fenner
You can reach the town driving along old Route 66 or I-40 at Exit 107, and also from Las Vegas, Nevada, along US 95 and old US 66.
The Map of U.S. 66 in Fenner, California
The following color key applies only to Fenner. 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.
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, bypassing Fenner.
Check out Fenner on our California Route 66 Map, with the complete alignment and all the towns along it.
Route 66's alignment in California: the Historic Route 66 into Fenner
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 Fenner.
Fenner its attractions: the Oasis
What to Do, Places to See
Oasis on Route 66
Fenner is is located on the 1926 to 1931 alignment of Route 66. The old landmarks are gone and nowadays there is a large service station with lush palm trees, ponds and statues.
As shown in the thumbnail image, Fenner at one time had many buildings: to the left is the "Hotel Fenner", and there are many trees too. The railway tracks can be seen to the right, just beside Route 66.
Nowadays, this same area is dry, parched and with no buildings or trees as shown in this Street View, on US 66 in Fenner. You can make out, in the distance, the same hills shown in the old photo (above the car that is on the right).
This original section of the road is shown in the Map above in Black.
The "green" part of Fenner is now further towards the west, next to the gas station, along the recent alignment of Route 66 that was built in a curve to meet I-40 ant EXIT 107.
31251 Goffs Road, Fenner
The "Hi Sahara Oasis Inc" filling station has an air of a Saharan Oasis with its palm trees and clear water ponds. The kitschy statues are a great example of Route 66 Americana.
The statues in the ponds at Fenner. Credits.
To the west, you can see a range of mountains, 10 miles long, which is named Clipper Mountain. It was formed by Tertiary volcanic rocks with peaks of over 1,500 ft. high. The slopes ar yellow, brown due to the oxidation of the lava. Fenner lies in a valley between Clipper and Paiute Mountains.
Eastbound Rest area before Exit 107, I-40.
Just west of Fenner, on I-40, there's a historic marker: "Camp Clipper Desert Training Center". You can see it near Exit 107 in the eastbound Rest Area. (Marker location map).
Camp Clipper was established at a site that reached From Essex Road to the location of the marker, in the spring of 1942. It was one of twelve such camps built in the Southwestern Desert to train United States troops for service during World War II.
Gas sign at the Fenner service station
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Fenner
In 1946 Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove along US 66 gathering information for his "Guide Book to Highway 66". At that time, 15 years had already passed since Fenner had been bypassed by the realignment of Route 66 furhter south. For that reason we have no reference from Rittenhouse about Fenner.
Tours and Nearby places to visit
The Alignment of Old Route 66 from Needles to Fenner an on to Essex
The 1926 to 1931 Route 66
The Sacramento, Piute and Old Woman mountains run to the west of Needles with a Soutwest to Northeast direction. They had to be crossed to link the Colorado River with California's coast.
The first to do so was the railway in 1883, which laid its tracks in a long wide arch, towards the north. It had an easier grade.
In the 1910s, the National Old Trails (N.O.T.) road followed the tracks as did Route 66 when it was created in 1926, and aligned on the N.O.T. road.
This is the 1926-1931 Route 66 map from Needles to Essex which passes through Fenner.
The 1931 alignment of Route 66
In the early 1930s, route 66 was realigned, shortening it. It was also paved, widened and its bridges improved. The Needles to Essex section was no exception.
A shorter alignment south of Goffs and Fenner was built across the Piute Mountains. It had a steeper grade than the old road, but cut off 8 miles from the older alignment.
The new Route 66 opened on Dec. 4, 1931, and it bypassed Fenner, and the old segment became known as "Goffs Road".
This new road followed the earlier alignment up to Klinefelter Spring, and then went straight west, passing through Mountain Spring Camp (now gone), meeting the 1926 alignment 3 miles south of Fenner and 2 mi. north of Essex.
Outdoors, National and State Parks
Mojave National Preserve
Kelso Dunes in Mohave Preserve California, "Mike" 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.
Read more at the Official National Parks website.
Accommodation Search box:
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.