The former town site of Bagdad was located approximately eight miles west of Amboy and was founded in 1883. Primarily constructed to serve the mining towns surrounding it, it survived into the 1950’s with a cafe, motel, service station, and garage serving Route 66 travelers. It’s primary claim to fame is that it holds the record in the United States with 767 consecutive days without rainfall, from October 3, 1912 to November 8, 1914.

In 1918, a major fire destroyed most of the wooden buildings in the town. Railroad improvements on the nearby Ash Hill grade required less crews stationed in Bagdad around this same time, so the town never truly recovered. In 1923 the Post Office closed and in 1937 so did the library. By the 1970’s when I-40 was completed to the north, the town was essentially rubble and a few concrete slabs. Today, the location of the old town can best be spotted by looking for a lone tree along the Mother Road.

By Scott Piotrowski