Might have been called "Edson" circa 1892.
In Essex's heyday there were a number of important buildings utilized by motorists and local patrons, including:
Essex was notable along route 66 for provide free water to travelers, thanks to a well installed by the Automobile Club of Southern California. Over a dozen homes also serviced the small community.
With an estimated population of just 89 people in 2005 (down from 111 in 2000), Essex is on the verge of becoming one of many ghost towns scattered throughout the Southwest United States displaced by the creation of Interstate 40. Essex Elementary school (founded 1937), which once served the educational needs of both Essex and its neighbor Goffs, currently has only 4 pupils enrolled, taught by a single teacher. Its location remote even with today's technological capabilities, Essex lacks many comforts of modern day life, and were unable to receive television service until the end of 1977.
Many of the homes and buildings in Essex have completely disappeared, almost 50 lay in abandonment, and of what was once a bustling roadside hub, only the singly-employed post office, CalTrans maintenance yard, school house, and outdoor telephone are still operational.
Essex has only one close neighbor, the equally abandoned Goffs, located to the north, just across I-40. Goffs is the only town in a radius of at least 20 miles where travelers can find an operating gas-station in the Mojave.
Three miles northeast of Essex, just north of Goffs Road, the remains of Camp Essex Army Airfield are still visible. This uniquely-configured airfield has two parallel runways and twelve "hardstands," where aircraft could be parked.