Amboy once served travelers on the western end of the long road from Chicago to Los Angeles. When the completion of the Interstate Highway System in the second half of the 20th century made Route 66 obsolete, Amboy, like many other route boom towns, passed into desolation.
Amboy Ghost Town History
Amboy, CA was first settled in 1858 and established in 1883 and has a long history nestled between the towns of Barstow and Needles, California. Amboy, California was originally established by Lewis Kingman for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Amboy was the first of a series of alphabetical railroad stations constructed spanning the Mojave Desert, along with Bagdad, Chambless, Danby, and others. Almost 100 years after the town’s foundation, in 1938, Roy’s Motel opened as a rest stop for road-weary travelers — the only respite from the desert heat for miles and miles around.
After World War II and the rise of automobiles, business at Roy’s was booming. Owners Roy Crowl and Herman “Buster” Burris—who also owned the town of Amboy—decided to expand the motel into a 24-hour rest stop, with a gas and service station. At its peak, Amboy had a population of about 700, and Roy’s employed more than 10 percent of them. Before the construction of the I-40 in 1973 which bypassed Amboy, this was quite a bustling place. The motel was a popular stop for weary travelers, like a little oasis in the desert.
Amboy was bought by investors and changed hands several times over the years before Albert Okura purchased it in 2005 with the intention of preserving the town and opening a museum.
The dozen or so little white buildings that comprise Amboy are situated around a short segment of the highway. Nearly all of them stand vacant. There is even a tiny airstrip that Harrison Ford supposedly used to fly into before grabbing lunch at Roy’s.
The service station has recently started selling gas again, with regular hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, every day. The school, church, airport, and graveyard can still be explored by adventurous travelers who can handle the heavy heat of the Mojave Desert, and a nearby volcanic crater adds to the atmosphere.
Amboy Ghost Town Location
Located about 50 miles north of Twentynine Palms and about 80 miles west of Needles, Amboy is accessible from I-40; exit 78. Amboy Ghost Town on Google Maps.
Know before you go. Before you come and spend time at the Amboy Ghost Town on Route 66 there are tips and advice for exploring abandoned places. We want to ensure that you enjoy your time there.
Know the Dangers When visiting the Amboy Ghost Town on Route 66, the most obvious hazard is falling through rotten floorboards — but there are often much more sinister invisible dangers.
Wear proper clothing and equipment
If you’re going to be exploring, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind ruining. Choose your footwear carefully too. Besides a camera and any photography props you might need, you’ll also want to bring a flashlight.
Don’t steal souvenirs from Amboy Ghost Town
The artifacts left near Kadykchan once belonged to somebody, even if they haven’t been there for years. At best, you’re diluting the experience for other urban explorers; at worst, you’re stealing and desecrating a historic site.
Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places
|Mr. Gregory Hooqe is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject.|
He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Korean Smart Cities, as well as the 2016 Korea Development Institute, Global Ambassador Award for Innovation.