Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Yousuf Khawaldeh, known to all in Daggett as "Joe," takes a breather outside his Desert Market, along old Route 66 near Barstow. The market, which has stood there for 140 years, is a thriving social spot in a town that's all but disappeared.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

At the crack of dawn, the school bus moves past the Desert Market on the main street in Daggett. On the right is the fenced-off Stone Hotel; on the left, the old garage that once serviced equipment in the area's long-gone silver-mining days.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A Union Pacific freight train rounds the bend and heads through Daggett on its way to the seaports in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Joe Khawaldeh cashes a check for customers in his Desert Market. It's the tiny community's center to cool off and hang out for gossip, lottery tickets, snacks, beer and bug spray.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The Desert Market is the place to go for most necessities, but no longer the public phone.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Joe Khawaldeh watches regular customer K.C. Lawill endorse his paycheck from Penny's Diner, where he's a cook, in the next town over. Joe cashes checks and gives credit to scores of customers, whom he greets on a first-name basis. But if people fall behind, he also draws the line: "I used to be nicer," he said. "But it takes a while to recover from that, if they don't pay their bills."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Robert Husted's little boy watches the ceiling fan spin high above the counter at the Desert Market.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

On a Friday after school, a youngster dashes out of the Desert Market with ice and a cool drink.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The tin outhouse next to the abandoned Sportsmans Club was probably a welcome stop for motorists along Route 66.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Jasmine Kennedy, 7, leaps across a crack and onward to get an after-school treat at the Desert Market.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Alex Razani tells his pooch to stay outside while he shops in the Desert Market.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Traffic is never a problem for Diane Greeson when she makes the trek between home and the Desert Market.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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Life in Daggett revolves around the Desert Market

The Desert Market in the San Bernardino County town of Daggett,  surrounded by sage and dust, is the only store around for miles. Nearby, there’s a trailer park, a junkyard and a truck repair shop — and not much else. The gas station was boarded up long ago, and a dozen silent houses sag into piles of wood and metal. To the people of Daggett, the store is part of their daily routine. They come to gossip, pay their utility bills or stock up on soda.

2 Comments

  1. April 23, 2011, 11:52 am

    this is my man and his talent with business is what madew this store what it is today . love this article

    By: ezlylost09@yahoo.com
  2. April 23, 2011, 5:18 pm

    I think it was wonderful of the LA Times to do an article on the desert market. The little business owners of small town america tend to be forgotten. Joe is such an awesome person and he is always willing to lend a hand to help someone in need. That man knows everything about everyone in town. He's the bartender of our little hole in the wall.

    By: BARDEN3732@YAHOO.COM

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