Visit Date: October 7, 2016
Cadiz Summit dates back to 1883; it was named by Lewis Kingman, who was a locating engineer for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It was one of a series of alphabetically named railroad stations built across the Mojave Desert (Amboy, Bristol, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goffs, Homer, Ibis, Java, Khartoum and so on). Back during those early years, Cadiz existed to supply water to the trains. And years later, when Route 66 was constructed, Cadiz served a similar purpose.
This photo was taken just a bit west of the summit at Cadiz Pass. Driving across the desert back in the early years of Route 66 wasn't as easy as it is today. There's a slight uphill grade all the way from Amboy to Cadiz Summit. A lot of cars overheated before they ever reached the summit, or limped in with steam trailing from their overheated radiators. Cresting the pass, Cadiz Summit must have been a welcome sight to road weary travelers. A desert oasis where they could rest, have something to eat or drink, refill their radiator or gas tank, have car repairs done and even spend the night. The cafe, gas station and small handful of tourist cabins must have served thousands of people over the years. I'll bet there are folks reading this who remember how it was. Sadly, I-40 was just another way to spell "doomed" when it came to many of the small settlements along Route 66. The owners eventually left, the vandals stole anything of value, the buildings burned, and graffiti "artists" attacked the ruins.
But the place still holds something, intangible as it may be. The people and buildings might be gone, but the history is still there. And I know there are plenty of folks like me who find places like this worthwhile to visit, to wander about the grounds, to poke around piles of desert gold (trash some might call it) and to wonder what that foundation once held or who put the cross up on the hill. Who stopped by the cafe, what were their stories. How much did they charge to fix a radiator? I'll bet the cabins were cozy and the apple pie delicious. I love places like this.
This is the most significate ruin at Cadiz Summit. If you compare this shot with the old black and white image at the top of this post, you'll see that this was the last building on the right. I think it was probably the garage. Think of all the cars that were worked on in that building over the years.
And the backside.
This image shows the rock wall at the left side of the black and white image. There's a large cement pad on the flat area above the wall, accessed by the set of steps. Maybe this was once the site of the main house.
The hill up behind the ruins is very intriguing. There are a number of names spelled out with bricks or rocks that have been painted, mostly green or blue. And on every one of them, is the name of someone. The majority have full names, some have dates, some have brief messages.
I did a bit of research, but wasn't able to find out who Rodger Fox is/was. But it appears that the hill with all the names is a memorial created by people who have lost loved ones. If anyone has any history on this, or anything else about Cadiz Summit, I'd be happy to hear from you so I could add it here.
I'm glad I was finally able to get to Cadiz Summit. The previous two times I've tried, the road had been closed because of those monsoon rains a couple years ago that washed out many of the bridges along Route 66.
If you've enjoyed this post/pictures, please feel free to leave a comment. Also, if any of my photos capture your interest, feel free to download them to your computer and use them for any purpose you like. Credit back to Cali49.com would be nice, but it's not required. I took all the photos above, except for the old black and white image.