Off the Map: Ghost Towns of the Mother Road – Chambless, California

Route 66In the early 1920’s, James Albert Chambless of Arkansas settled in the Amboy area, near the intersection of Cadiz road and the National Trails Road.  The family built a store in the late 1920’s after the National Trails Road was renamed Route 66.  In 1932, a gas station, motel and another store were added to Chambless Camp (as it was known).  In 1939 a Post Office was opened — cabins and a café were also built.

In the late 1930’s, James married Fannie Gould, who is said to have turned the camp into a desert oasis, with a rose garden and fish pond.  The auto repair shops kept busy even in the remote location.  Travelers needing repairs had cafes to eat at and cabins or motels to sleep in while they waited – with business so brisk, it could sometimes be days before repairs were completed.

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8 Comments

    • Cool .. do you know the status of the efforts to revive Chambless? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
      • I am not aware that anything has changed. Ultimately, unless somehow traffic starts to flow through there, which led to the original 66 heyday, nothing will happen. Traffic can exit on Ludlow exit then return back to I-40 past Essex….so only thing that is needed is some sort of gimmick, like Baker’s “World tallest thermometer”. Maybe the Air Force can donate a plane from the boneyard to park next to ’66 and draw traffic.

        Reply
  1. Where is the old town where donkeys roam loose?? Roger

    Reply
    • Perhaps you’re thinking of Oatman, Arizona? Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. My wife’s great aunt was Carolyn Chambless. She was married to Melvin. We are going through some old letters that Carolyn and Melvin wrote to each other during the war. We have letters with the printed return address of there business in Chambless and have the postcard with the picture of the original store. Melvin had told me stories on building the camp with his father. Hope to get the this next winter.

    Reply
    • That is so cool… thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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