We were guests of the owner and former occupant, Alice Armes Hall. Our visit was arranged by Cheryl Mangin-Dotson and Rich Dotson of the Needles Museum. Cheryl had researched Carty’s Camp and shared with us her collection of historic photos and a chronological history she had compiled of the camp.This helped bring the place to life for us. Carty’s Camp was established in March of 1923 by William Carty and Dick Mansker. Carty bought Mansker out a few years later. The Needles local newspaper, the “Needles Nugget”, reported in their July 23, 1926 article “Bill Carty’s Big Camp Service City” that the ‘Nugget Man’ had recently visited Carty’s Camp. He reported that “Mr. Carty is alive to the situation and enterprises showing results. He has a dandy camp with all the facilities of the larger places. Cabins, shade, store well stocked with groceries and other goods, oil station, auto accessories, and an up-to-date lunch room, with 5 ton ice storage.”
When Carty’s Camp was sold to Howard Carmody in February, 1940, it included a Shell Service Station and 28 cabins. Carmody changed the station to a Standard Oil Station and renamed the accommodations Havasu Court. When Carmody left in 1943 to serve as a captain in the US Army, he turned the operation of Havasu Court over to his wife and the service station management over to S. H. Stewart.
A few years later, Carmody sold out to Ada and Edward Armes, Alice’s aunt and uncle.
Alice’s family moved to Needles in 1947 to help run Carty’s Camp. They lived in 1/2 of a duplex constructed onto the back of the service station. Alice married Richard Hall in 1968 and they ran the operation until 1971 when a new Chevron Station a few blocks away ruined their business.
It had been a long time since anyone had been through Alice’s former home, the service station duplex where she had spent many happy years. As Alice guided us through the dusty and dilapidated rooms, there were tears in her eyes. Even though, she was an excellent guide and story teller. Her reminiscences brought everything back to life for a few moments and we were able to experience a bit of what it was like to live there during the heyday of Route 66. Our explorations around the property included (but were not limited to) the old service station with the attached duplex, some original cabins, the garages, and the 1930’s motel complex. There were so many wonderful things to see. Many thanks to Alice, Cheryl and Rich from the lucky Desert Explorers including Bob, Sue, Mignon, Vicki, Dave, Debbi, Steve and Chris Ervin (friend and MDHCA Archivist).