Skip to main content

Ghost Town Tuesday; Rice, CA and the Bomb

The ghost town of Rice lies in the southern Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County along California State Route 62.  Rice despite it's derelict appearance was the head of a rail line and almost became the locale of the first nuclear weapons test.


Rice began life as a siding of the California Southern Railroad which was incorporated in 1914.  The California Southern Railroad began at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad ("ATSF") tracks at Rice which was originally known as Blythe Junction and traversed southeast 42.2 miles through the Big Maria Mountains and Little Maria Mountains to Bylthe in the Sonoran Desert of Riverside County.  The California Southern Railroad was completed by 1916 and was extended about another 7 miles to Ripley in 1920.  The ATSF began to lease the California Southern Railroad in 1921 and purchased it in 1942.

Rice and the rails of the California Southern Railroad can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Riverside County. 



Rice was a rather unremarkable rail siding until World War II and the creation of the Rice Army Airfield in 1942.  The Rice Army Airfield was part of the Desert Training Center run by Major General George S. Patton which is best known today as a significant tank training ground during World War II.  Rice apparently had several thousand enlisted personnel living in the town during the war years when the Army Airfield was operating.  Supposedly the Rice Army Airfield was one of the three locations in the running for the Trinity Test which was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon.  According to conjecture/rumor the Rice Army Field was not selected to slight Patton and was moved to White Sands in New Mexico instead.

Rice was largely depopulated after World War II.  The Army Airfield was turned over to civilian use but was abandoned some time in the 1950s.  The ruins of the gas station in Rice opened in the 1970s.  The ATSF sold the rights to the line between Rice and Ripley to the Arizona & California Railroad ("ARZC") in 1991.  Rice was largely known in modern times for a shoe tree that burned in 2003 only to be replaced by a shoe fence which still exists to this day.  The last train to run from Rice to Ripley was in December of 2007.  In 2009 all but the first four miles of rials south out of Rice were abandoned and were removed in 2011.  Aside from building foundations there isn't much left to indicate anything significant ever happened in Rice or the roll it played during World War II.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del