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Ghost Town Tuesday; Rice, CA and the Bomb

Along California State Route 62 out in the middle of the Southern tip of the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County near the boundary of the Sonoran Desert is the derelict ghost town of Rice.






I'm not sure of the exact date of origin but I do know that Rice began it's existence as a Santa Fe Railroad Siding known as Blythe Junction.  I do have a link to state highway map from 1918 showing Blythe Junction before the name changed to Rice in the following decade:

1918 State Highway Map

Rice was a rather unremarkable rail siding until World War II and the creation of the Rice Army Airfield in 1942.  The Rice Army Airfield was part of the Desert Training Center run by Major General George S Patton which is best known today as a significant tank training ground during the war.  Rice apparently had several thousand enlisted personnel living in the town during the war years when the Army Airfield was operating.  Supposedly the Rice Army Airfield was one of the three locations which were in the running for the Trinity Test which was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon.  According to conjecture/rumor the Rice Army Field was not selected to slight Patton and was moved to White Sands instead.

Rice was largely depopulated after the Second World War.  The Army Airfield was turned over to civilian use but was apparently abandoned some time in the 1950s.  Supposedly the gas station in the picture above opened in the 1970s.  Rice was largely known in modern times for a shoe tree that burned in 2003 only to be replaced by a shoe fence which still exists to this day.  Aside from building foundations there isn't much left to indicate anything significant ever happened in Rice or the roll it played during World War II.





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