Ed’s Camp was a desert oasis in every sense of the word. It never amounted to more than a ramshackle complex of buildings but the traveler could find water, gas, oil, a hot meal, and a cabin to rest the weary head. Fresh tomatoes, cantaloupes, and watermelons were an unexpected treat as was cold milk from King’s Dairy located near Warm Springs Canyon a few miles to the east, and apples and pears from Hidden Valley on the opposite side of Sitgreaves Pass. For the camps namesake, Lowell “Ed” Edgerton, it was a gold mine.
By late 1930’s more than 2,000 vehicles a day were rolling past Ed’s Camp on Route 66. It was also a stop for the Pickwick Bus Company, forerunner to Greyhound. As a bonus, a countless number of prospectors were scratching a living from the rugged Black Mountains during the hard times of the Great Depression, and they needed gasoline, supplies, and fresh melons.
Shortly after WWI, Edgerton headed to Arizona from Michigan after doctors had recommended the dry desert air as a cure for a debilitating lung ailment. Hoping to find a cure and make a few bucks Edgerton set his sights on the booming mining camps of Oatman and Goldroad, site of the last major gold rush in the state, and headed west in a 1918 Oldsmobile. The remnants of that old car languish under the desert sun to this very day.
The story of Ed’s Camp, the gold rush in the Black Mountains, and Route 66 in western Arizona continues on our crowdfunded premium content site on the Patreon platform.