Kelso - the Depression and the beginning of World War II

December 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Kelso was a busy railroad town, even during the depression years.  The railroad was a major link from southern California to the Utah, and Colorado areas, with a link to the transcontinental railroad in Salt Lake City.  Kelso is also important because of the distance and grades from Barstow, CA to Las Vegas, NV; and the need of the steam engines for water.  People were also beginning to travel more, and Kelso was a lunch stop not only for the train crews, but also the passengers on the trains.  The Depression era saw this little replenishing stop grow from a hundred local residents to approximately 100 people prior to 1940.  The helper engines needed repair and servicing, the crews needed quarters and families moved to be with their wage earning husbands.  Plus the mining in the area was producing good quantities of iron, gold and silver, the iron important for the new Kaiser Steel plant in Fontana, CA.


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