EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Riverside Co., CA
Most of this still stands!
Unbelievably, outside of
The story of
In 1942, the mines were purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad Co, which ran a new assay on the ore, which showed 51-54% iron. The S.P. owned a massive mountain of iron, with estimated reserves of 70,000,000 tons of hematite and magnetite ores.
Henry J. Kaiser, a noted industrialist.
In the late 1930s, he was looking to build a fully integrated steel mill
on the west coast to aid in his activities. In 1942 he built a mill in
soon became aware of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s idle
In January 1951
the post office opened, and
the summer of 1980, the mine shut down briefly, reopening on Sep 23. However, only 750 workers were brought back,
leaving 150 in limbo. The 455 occupied
homes/trailers were rented from the company for only $60-80 per month, which
On November 3,
1981, Kaiser Corporation announced that half the Fontana Steel mill and the
entire Eagle Mountain Mine would be “phased out” over the next several years.
Pessimism prevailed, a mood reflected in the December 20, 1981 edition of the Los
Angeles Times. “
However, in 1986 new life was breathed into the
moribund community in 1986, when the California Department of Corrections
proposed placing a privately operated 200-300 “low-risk” inmate prison at
September 1988 it happened. The former
shopping center was converted, with inmates arrived at the Eagle Mountain
Community Correctional Facility. That
was also the year a controversial proposal to turn the abandoned 1.5 mile long
by half-mile wide open-pit mine into a massive sanitary landfill became the
next topic of discussion. The proposal
was to ship trash by train from the metropolitan
the last six months of 2003, the State of
1948 - June 1983
September 1988 – Dec 31, 2003
On Dec 31, 2005, I rec’d the following E-mail.
“Very nice article on Eagle Mountain, California. Thank you for publishing it.
I grew up at the old mine. We arrived there in
1953. My dad worked for Kaiser Steel Corp. for 25 years. We
You may be interested in visiting Eagle Mountain Family Trees. It's very likely the only website in which the family trees for an entire community exist! However, there's more there than the "trees," as historically interesting as they are. Poking around here and there, one will discover some interesting data about the old "camp" and its people, as well as the surrounding area.
After your visit, perhaps you'll post a link to "Eagle Mountain Family Trees" in your genealogy section. I hope so. Because it was created to preserve the memory and help the world to discover it.
Have a great day.
Thanks Larry! (GBS)
July 2011 update
On July 15, 2011 I again visited Eagle Mountain and the rumors are true. The site is NO longer accessible, having been fenced off in July 2007. The old Eagle Mountain School adjacent to one of the gates is still in use and in 2010-2011 had 19 students ranging from pre-K through 8th grade. I spoke with several folks in Desert Center and most verified that the students are mostly from Desert Center and Lake Tamarisk, a former Kaiser housing area a little over a mile north of Desert Center. As I was taking photos I felt like I was being watched, and after shooting across the town site with my telephoto lens from the gate area I headed south along the road towards the Eagle Mountain Pumping Station along the LA Aqueduct. Halfway there the old Eagle Mountain Railroad line crosses the road. The railroad is no longer used, and has a pair of ancient railroad crossing signs still gracing the crossing. It is not accessible to the general public and there is a manned gate to allow access. I turned around before getting all the way to the pumping station as to not incur the curiosity of any guards. When I returned to the main Kaiser Road to turn back towards Desert Center, a security pickup was sitting across the road facing in my direction. I figure he was keeping an eye on my activity. I turned right and headed towards Desert Center, while the truck turned opposite and headed back to the gate to Eagle Mountain. Hmmmmm.
The one thing I did notice is that all the buildings still appear to remain in decent shape. The trash dump idea is still being kicked around once in a while, the prison is shuttered and Eagle Mountain continues to bask in the unrelenting desert sunshine.
This was our GHOST TOWN OF THE MONTH for January 2004.
· W½ Sec 1, all Sec 2, T4S, R14E, San Bernardino Meridian
· Latitude: 33.8575137 / 33° 51’ 27” N
· Longitude: -115.4872075 / 115° 29’ 14” W
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FIRST POSTED: January 01, 2004
LAST UPDATED: July 15, 2011
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