Dunmovin, Cal

Visit Date: December 26, 2012

If you've ever driven through the Mojave Desert on U.S. Route 395, chances are you've seen this abandoned stone restaurant and wondered about its history. All you catch of it is a glimpse when you're doing 85 mph on the highway. But it's interesting. It sticks in your mind. It beckons. You say to yourself, "self, one day I'm going to stop at this place and see what I can find."

Which is what I did. I had a few days off from work (= roadtrip) and was driving north on 395. I remembered this building from long ago and was keeping an eye out for it. As I zoomed past, I noticed there was no exit on the northbound lanes. Hmmm, tricky. Like they don't want me to visit. But I found a way.

This location was originally known as Cowan's Station in the early 1900s, named after homesteader James Cowan. Reports indicate that a freight station here transported silver ingots from the Cerro Gordo mines to Los Angeles. Years later in 1936, Charles and Hilda King bought Cowan out and changed the name of the settlement to Dunmovin. I guess they had gone as far as they were going to go.

By 1941, a roadside service station, cafe, store and tourist cabins offered travelers a nice place to stop and spend the night. The property was sold in 1961 and continued to operate for many years, perhaps some of you reading this may have even stopped there while driving home from Reno or Lake Tahoe.

The property, some 161 acres of it, is for sale. Wouldn't it be great to have the money to buy this place and restore it?