Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Daggett

Map Desert Market
35596 Santa Fe Street, Daggett, California 92327

Map Stone Hotel
35630 Santa Fe Street, Daggett, California 92327

Desert Market
Desert Market

As you travel Route 66, roughly ten miles east of Barstow, you'll come upon the tiny town of Daggett. Home to about 200 people, the town first formed back in 1883, shortly after the discovery of silver in nearby Calico. The town was named after then California Lieutenant Governor, John Daggett, although before 1883 the area was known as Calico Junction. Borax also helped the town grow and the Borax companies in the area employed a large number of people from the town. Daggett was also the southern end of the twenty mule team runs from Death Valley. After 1911 though, the town began to decline as richer borax deposits were discovered in Death Valley and much of the mining operations to support that were relocated.

There are at least two structures of note in Daggett. The first is the Stone Hotel which was built sometime between 1875 and 1882, originally as the Railroad Hotel. This hotel has seen some pretty impressive visitors who have traveled through Daggett and stayed in the hotel. Visitors included Death Valley Scotty; John Muir, whose daughter lived in Daggett; Lieutenant Governor John Daggett; Francis Marion Smith the Borax King; Tom Mix, an actor from several westers; another actor, Wallace Beery; and even Wyatt Earp. The stone walls are an impressive two feet thick and are still in great condition even today, those walls being where the name of the hotel came from.

Stone Hotel
Stone Hotel
People's General Store
People's General Store
Stone Hotel
Stone Hotel
Stone Hotel
Stone Hotel

This building has somehow survivied not one, not two, but three fires (and some reports say four), the last back in 1908! Sadly, not all of it is intact, as it originally had two stories, with the second story having a balcony, along with what sounds like an amazing glass dome over the original two story tall lobby. The dome was used to hold a lantern that, if the stories are true, was used to advertise whenever the then owner, Alex Falconer, received a new shipment of alcohol for the saloon. Apparently the lantern was probably the source of the 1908 fire. The second story was sadly removed after the last fire when the building was repaired post fire.

Desert Market
Desert Market

The second building of note in town can be found right across the street from the Stone Hotel. The Desert Market appears to always have been some sort of general store dating all the way back to the 1880s. The current structure is made out of cement and has been there since shortly after 1908, the earlier structure having been destroyed in the same fire that consumed the Stone Hotel that year. Former names for the store include the General Supply Store and Ryerson's General Store. This structure was where local miners would come to bring in their ore and have them exchanged for legal tender.

The building standing between the Desert Market and the Stone Hotel was apparently another general store, at one time being called the People's General Store, and some time post 1908 fire, being called the Thistle Store.

The Stone Hotel and Thistle Store are now owned by the San Bernardino County Museum Association having been donated to the association back in 1977. Route 66 continues west to Barstow and east to Newberry Springs.


Outside References:

Last Edited: 2020-11-26


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