The Sprawling Ghost Town of Desert Center - Part 2 - Abandoned School and Junkyard House

Down the road from Desert Center's main strip stood an abandoned school. Farm equipment was arranged on the grounds, as if on display.

Desert Center California Abandoned School

Desert Center, California Ghost Town

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center CA military ghost town

The school had only one classroom and a large room with a stage covered by stacked chairs.

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center CAQ

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town
I imagine this might have been a teachers lounge.

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center, California ghost town

And a little kitchen.

Desert Center California ghost town

Several dilapidated pianos remained in the school.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center CA ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

A row of dead palm trees lay out front. The tops of those that remained standing had been chopped off.

Desert Center California ghost town

I drove around to see what other abandoned places I could find in this amazing town, and happened upon a vast junkyard. Hundreds, maybe thousands of old cars blanketed the land, many from the 60s and some even older. I got out to take a closer look, waiting for vicious guard dogs to pierce the quiet day. But the only security measure was a flimsy barbed wire fence.

Desert

A big two-story house stood near where I'd parked. The second story had windows all the way around, probably so the owner could keep a watchful eye on the sprawling junkyard. Many of the windows were boarded up, which meant the place was most likely abandoned.

Desert Center California ghost town

I stepped inside an open RV.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

Several houses at the far end of the junkyard appeared to still be inhabited. Fearing the possibility of a stereotypical crazy shotgun wielding junkyard owner, I didn't venture too far out into the yard, lest I be spotted.

Desert Center CA ghost town

The large two-story house was begging to be explored, but I was a little nervous that I might encounter an angry squatter. I got my pepper spray ready and looked for an entry point. A busted out window led into a bedroom, where the disembodied head of a deer stared out from beneath the covers.

Desert Center CA ghost town

Instead of climbing through the bedroom window, I tried a door and was amazed to find it unlocked. I walked into a well-stocked kitchen.

Desert Center California ghost town

The pantry shelves were full of decades-old products.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

It seemed most of the possessions had been left behind when the house was vacated, and shockingly the place had not been disturbed by vandals.

The medicine cabinet in the bathroom contained products like ether and other strange tonics you can’t find in stores nowadays.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

A junk room had shelves with sheets tacked up in front of them, just like my grandparents had in their basement. There were quite a few bits and bobs stored in repurposed containers. A board game box held an array of spools of thread. Oatmeal cans were full of tacks and nails. A stack of old magazines filled the corner of one shelf. Everything was covered in a layer of dust or fine dirt.

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center CA ghost town

I concluded the place was most recently inhabited in the late 70s by an elderly woman. In the living room I found newspapers dated from 1976. And on the kitchen table was a book with an inscription from 1977.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town

She even had a loom in the living room.

Desert Center California ghost town

The house must have been great in its heyday, spacious with a second story that overlooked the expansive junkyard and desert in every direction.

Desert Center California ghost town

The second story contained some interesting artifacts.

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town
Beer can with a pull tab

Desert Center California ghost town
Ancient treasure? 

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town
Horrors

Desert Center California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town
A pamphlet from 1936

I'm not sure what the purpose of this shuttered opening was. It led to a long fall down the stairwell.

Desert Center Ca ghost town

After exploring the house, I drove past an old trailer park.

Desert Center California ghost town

On the way out of Desert Center I stopped to explore another abandoned gas station several miles down the highway.

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center, California ghost town

Desert Center California ghost town
I am not crazy about graffiti unless it's artfully done, but I couldn't help but smile at the positive message painted on the old gas station.

The foundations of another building lay nearby.

Desert Center California

I explored the land behind it, where I found a dumping ground of old tires, thousands of rusted cans, and broken glass. I could hardly believe how much trash was there.

Desert Center CA

Desert Center California ghost town

I jumped in my car and set out to find the ghost town of Eagle Mountain.

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15 comments :

  1. I'm fascinated by abandoned places as well.....but lack the courage to check them out. I guess I'm always afraid I might encounter drug addicts holed up in there or something. So nice to find this blog.
    It gives me the chance to "see" these places. Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like the blog. Thanks so much for checking it out. I'm surprised how rarely I've run into sketchy characters during my explorations. I've explored over 80 abandoned places so far, and only encountered drug addicts once. They kept to themselves and didn't give me any trouble. Even so, I always bring pepper spray just in case.

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  2. Wow, that combination of a non-vandalized, long-abandoned house and a junkyard is an incredible find. Very nice photos and interesting to read. I'd just wish there was a higher resolution available for the pictures, as it's hard to make out the details of some.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jonas. It was really fun to explore. Sorry about the low resolution. I always shrink the pictures down before posting so they will load quicker.

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  3. I really enjoyed those pictures! I was born there in 1980 and lived there until 1992 (except for 83-86). I wish there were more pictures in the trailer park because that was home. Believe me, growing up in a dying ghost town is just as horrible as you'd imagine.

    -Tina
    Therealj5girl@yahoo. com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed them. It is such a neat town. I bet you have some interesting stories and insights from your time living there. I was tempted to take more pictures of the trailer park, but there were several homes that were still occupied and I wanted to respect the privacy of the people still living there.

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  4. I lived at the eagle mountain pumping plant (MWD) from 86-2000 I was 8 yrs old in 86 and went to school in Eagle Mt the old abandoned High School was made into k-12. The little drive in near the cafe was our hang out. The cafe had the best chicken sandwiches. I can't believe it's all abandoned. So many memories. Thanks for your blog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your memories! It's great to get an idea of what this place was like back in its heyday.

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  5. I still live in this town and could tell you the history behind most of it well my husband can he has lived here all his life, worked for the family that owns it all.

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    Replies
    1. It's amazing that one family owns it all. Do you know if they have any plans for future development?

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    2. I'd love to hear about more of those stories about this town. Does your husband have a blog or page?

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  6. They always have plans for Eagle Mountain, but it's a legal mess. Everything gets dragged out for years by the courts and the EPA because it was originally leased from national park land or something, like almost a hundred years ago.
    I don't know about Desert Center, though.

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  7. This is awesome. We just drove by it and I was curious about the rows of dead palm trees, great exploring!

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  8. Shanemuldoon@mail.comDecember 6, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Ive been with a friend who bought some vintage volkswagens from Sidney the land owner of the junk yard very nice guy better to knock next time his house was off 177 rice rd

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