Pisgah Crater

What’s left of Pisgah Crater. A gravel company has been steadily picking away at it for years.


I always thought that Pisgah Crater was the site of a hilarious prank that involved a truckload of burning tires and a panicked phone call to Barstow claiming that “the volcano is going to explode!” but apparently it took place at Amboy Crater farther east.

From the newsletter of the California Historic Route 66 Association:


In the 1940s, probably ’45, ’46, the kids from the Barstow High School hauled for about a year all kinds of debris out and at different times dumped it down to the bottom of the cinder cone. They had tires, old lumber, old creosoted railroad ties, all kinds of junk. Who started it, nobody knows. On the fateful day, they set it on fire. The cinder cone was then dormant for years. Suddenly it began to get a trickle of smoke. It shut down the Santa Fe railroad, Highway 66, evaculated Barstow – they moved the entire company out – everybody. And that thing burned and it burned and it got more and more and even people could feel rumblings from the ground. They were very excited. The Los Angeles Times hired an airplane, a reporter and a photographer, and they could see what happened and they broke the hoax that had lasted for some 72 hours and had the whole center of the desert tied up.

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One Response to Pisgah Crater

  1. Lory Box says:

    I talked to my Uncle Rex Dillingham whos family has lived in Barstow for 3 generations and he said that his father Reese Dillingham was a part of the hoax and that would have put it in the late 30s.

    This is a great story I think.

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