Ludlow, CA

Ludlow, CA - Abandoned gas station in Ludlow

Ludlow, CA – Abandoned gas station in Ludlow


The town of Ludlow was created in 1883 as a water stop along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Despite being a water stop, there wasn’t any water to speak of in Ludlow. All of the water was hauled in by tank car from Newberry Springs (27 miles to the west of Ludlow).

Gold was found in the hills around Ludlow a short time after the railroad arrived. As usual, this caused the typical gold rush and Ludlow began to boom.

A majority of the town was built along the railroad tracks, that is until Route 66 arrived in 1928. A large portion of the town was moved to sit along main street, or rather Route 66 to take advantage of the traffic on the highway.

By the 1940’s, the mining boom had ended and Ludlow became strictly dependent on the motorist along Route 66.


Ludlow, CA - Ludlow community cemetery.

Ludlow, CA – Ludlow community cemetery.


In 1972, I-40 was built which bypassed the town of Ludlow by just a short distance. It wasn’t long after that the businesses began to suffer, and the towns folk packed up and moved along.

Today there are a number of services available that have been built right off of the I- 40 Ludlow off ramp. A couple of gas stations that gouge travelers, restaurants, a coffee shop, and a hotel are in operation at the time of this writing.

As for the old town ruins, they are still there. A number of buildings still stand, decaying from years of neglect. The train still runs through the old town site, making it a wonderful stop for the train enthusiast.

The old town cemetery, fenced in with rusty wire and a broken gate sit on the outskirts of town. A hundred or so graves of the early inhabitants of this community are marked only by old wooden crosses.


Ludlow, CA - Abandoned home in Ludlow

Ludlow, CA – Abandoned home in Ludlow


Interested in visiting this site?

BOOK OPTION: Ludlow is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. III. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.




About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.