There were several trips west during the eary 1960s so I know we rolled through Ludlow. As a kid I paid little attention to anything with the exception of the stops and in recent years we do what most folks do and drive past Ludlow.On our trip this past Sunday we sought remnants from the time when Ludlow was a junction where the Tonapah & Tidewater Railroad connected with the main Santa Fe line and the streets teemed with motorist traveling the national Old Trails Highway.There really isn’t much left. This is really a ghost town with only the faintest pulse made manifest in a gas station/store, cafe, and motel.
About the only tangible link to those glory days are the ruins of the 1908 Murphy Brothers Ludlow Mercantile several blocks south of the coffee shop on the corner of Main Street. The imposing concrete structure stood intact but empty until a recent earthquake toppled most of the building.This is your Route 66 trivia note for the day.
The shell of a house across Route 66 from the ruins of the Ludlow Cafe and one behind the cafe hint of origins predating the replcement of the National Old Trails Highway with with signed as U.S. 66. There are also broken sidewalks that line Main Street, another indication that at some point in time this was a real town, a community with a future. Remnants from the glory days of Route 66 are vanishing almost as quickly. The Ludlow cafe is now a fire gutted shell. The station next door is intact but the firebug that struck the cafe seems to have also targeted a couple of smaller buildings behind the cafe and next to the station.
The Ludlow Garage is no more. The sturdy concrete block walls adorned with a listing of services no longer offered stand in mute testimony of better times. In an unrelated note several weeks ago I promised photos of remnants from the National Old Trails Highway and the first incarnation of Route 66 in Kingman. Until about ten years ago city maps still listed this dirt track between Route 66 and the railroad tracks as the National Old Trails Highway. As a reference point this would be directly in front of Napap Auto Parts and direcetly west of the Penske Truck Leasing Office at the end of the Martin Swanty Chrysler complex.
I have no clue as to origins of this building or what purpose it served. I have been told it was a service station that became the offices for a wrecking yard when Route 66 was moved to its present location.
There are indications that the structure was there as early as 1930. As to this being the site of wrecking yard there is a very strong possibility since the surrounding field is littered with various automotive tid bits – large spark plugs, retainers for the old style clincher rims, bolts, dome light switches, etc. On a recent stroll through the field I found a very nice horn button for a 1940 Chevy after a heavy rain. Now, updates on the starving aritist and his ongoing efforts to avoid becoming a greeter at Walmart during his senior years. The first official signing for Ghost Towns of the Southwest is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, April 17, at Hastings Books & Music in Kingman, Arizona. As we speak, plans are being finalized for a signing in Lake Havasu City, at Barnes & Noble in Flagstaff and Prescott, at the Adventure in Travel Expo in Chicago. Interviews are also being scheduled for Good Morning Arizona.If I can pull off the Adventure in Travel Expo it willbe a whirlwind adventure – nine days to Chicago and home again. So, time will be limited. Still, if you carry books I have writen it would be apleasure to stop by and sign them. If you do not carry the books and do not want to place a large order with the publisher I should be able to deliver small orders as we roll through. Just drop a note and I will keep you updated on the schedule, and as we draw closer, the planned route.