Kelso is an ex-mining town located in eastern California.  As many as 2,000 people lived in Kelso during it’s mining boom during the 1940s.  The main building is the historic railroad depot that is now a visitor center / art gallery / museum for the Mojave National Reserve.

The interior and exterior of the historic depot have been restored.

Based on historic layout drawings of town most of the site has been destroyed, entire rows of houses obliterated with no trace.  On the south side of the railroad tracks is a row of buildings, some of which appear to be in use perhaps either by the National Reserve or the railroad.  On the north side of the highway are the post office, remains of a few houses, and bulldozed/leveled areas where rows of houses used to stand.

It’s probably been a while since anyone played a real game of basketball here.

Despite it’s “ghost town’ status, the Kelso area is quite busy.  Two paved highways intersect in the center of town, the popular Kelso Dunes are nearby, and the railroad tracks are active with freight trains.

If planning a visit to Kelso, an early Spring after a period of rain is ideal.  The desert comes alive with blooming plants and color!


Kelso, CA — 2 Comments

  1. Wow, that old cactus is not going to be bothered by anyone anytime soon! Nature certainly did it’s protective job well with all those pricles 🙂

    Many thanks for your great sites!

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