Chambless is on the 1931-1973 alignment of Route 66. This building was originally Chambless Camp, built in 1932 by James Chambless. The Camp had a garage, a large canopy out front over the entrance and gas pumps, and cabins. The building was still used in 1993 as the Chambless Market and Gas run by Gus Lizalde (see: Guide to Historic Route 66 in California by Davies and Kuna, 1993, p. 8) July 31, 2005.
When the Santa Fe Railroad established the towns along present-day Route 66 between Barstow and Needles, they named them in alphabetical order: Amboy, Bagdad, Cadiz*, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goff, Homer, Ibis, Java, Khartoum.
James Albert Chambless of Arkansas established a homestead at an intersection of Cadiz road with the National Trails Road in the early 1920’s. The Automobile Club of Southern California reported a store in this location in the late 1920’s, after the road was designated as part of Route 66. In 1932 the highway was realigned, and the business followed it; a gas station, motel and store were added, and by 1939 a post office, tourist cabins, and a café were operating here. During World War II General Patton trained over two million men to survive in the desert (as they would in North Africa) in and around the 10 thousand square miles of desert near Chambless. In the end, the Second Corps swept through North Africa as if they knew their way around-with no surprises their own desert hadn't already shown them.Today the businesses have closed, but many of the buildings, including the store and tourist cabins, remain.
- The Route 66 Traveler's Guide by Tom Snyder
What it looks like today...
Route 66 - A Road to Remember Before the Interstate highway system, there was Route 66, a principal east-west artery across the United States from Chicago to the California coast of the Pacific Ocean. Its path was practical, traversing mainly prairie lands and temperate climates, convenient and comfortable for most travelers, whether they were tourists or truckers. Its history mirrors the nation’s troubles in the 1930s and ’40s, the Great Depression and World War II, and its emerging mobility and optimism in the Post War 1950s. Ironically, says the National Historic Route 66 Federation, the need for rapid mobility and improved highways that made Route 66 so popular also brought about its demise. After 1956, with the federal interstate and defense highways system, highways would be divided, and they wouldn’t take a traveler through the small, medium and large communities of the nation.
Farm-to-Market Road Route 66 was planned by Congress in 1926, intending to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities. Its diagonal path through rural communities in Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas connected the farms in the prairies to Chicago. Truckers found the westward path easier to travel than routes farther north, due to milder weather.
The California Migration on Route 66 Route 66 carried many of estimated 210,000 Americans who migrated to California in the 1930s, fleeing the despair of the Dust Bowl.
Who built Route 66? Thousands of unemployed male youths from nearly every state were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of the road during the financially lean years of 1933-38. It was a monumental job, and it helped prepare the nation for mobilizing troops for World War II. Route 66 was an efficient route to the West, the ideal place for military training bases.
Servicemen Move West on Route 66 Servicemen returning from WWII frequently chose to relocate from their past home states to the West and South, and Route 66 facilitated their moves. The Route 66 federation says one of those servicemen, Bobby Troup, wrote the song with the catch phrase, “get your kicks on Route 66.” Troup was a musician who had played piano with the Tommy Dorsey band. The recording artist was Nat King Cole.
America Travels on Route 66 In the 1960s, although the interstate and defense highway system was under construction, Route 66 was still a favorite corridor. A new generation of motorists was ready to hit the road and stay in the new motor courts with swimming pools, as customers of the Route 66 restaurants, gas stations, and souvenir shops. Even if Route 66 was not outside your door, it was inside your living room on American TV. Route 66 was a popular weekly television show, starring Martin Milner and George Maharis.
Recapturing the Route 66 Mood Today, Americans try to recapture the aura of freedom earlier generations felt when they traveled Route 66 by restoring the road itself, where possible, and preserving the 1950s and 1960s buildings that characterized the old Route 66. There are also commemorative post cards, tours, even festivals and associations formed in each state Route 66 traversed.
The Route 66 Encyclopedia
New from Drew Knowles. With this handy reference, novices and seasoned roadies have quick and easy access to essential information about this famous highway.