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Ghost Towns of the

SALTON SEA area

Imperial & Riverside Counties, California

 

 

NOTE NUMEROUS CHANGES!

 

CALIFORNIA’S SALTON SEA is a very interesting location for ghost towners to explore.  Once I finish the book I’m under contract to write, I will complete this guide to the Salton Sea area ghost towns.  Below is a BRIEF outline of that work.  FADED DREAMS-GHOST TOWNS OF THE SALTON SEA should be available in early 2010.  I journeyed to the Salton Sea on Oct 24, 2009, to finish the photography and site visits.  Please note NUMEROUS changes here.  Due to extensive changes in some of the places visited, I will probably make a couple more journeys to the Sea in the next couple months to verify and photograph the other sites not visited in October.

 

PLEASE HELP!  I’m looking for additional HISTORICAL INFORMATION AND PERIOD PHOTOS for the Marinas, Yacht Clubs and other sea-related places that once operated along the shoreline of the Salton Sea, in Imperial & Riverside Co., California from 1958-1976 or so.  I especially would love to hear from folks that once frequented these places for fishing, boating or general relaxation, and would like to share stories from “the good old days”.  Please let me know your impressions of these places then, and if you’d like to share any photos.

 

I’m also looking for information on Imperial County Ghost Towns.  I would like to publish a guide to these locations concurrently with the Salton Sea Guide in 2010/early 2011 and still need a lot of information.  For additional details on the Salton Sea Ghost Town Guide, see Faded Dreams. 

 

PLEASE contact me if you ever visited any of these places OR know of any that are not listed.  Thank you! 

 

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AIR PARK ESTATES (Imp)                                                                                       

In a 1961 article this was one of the “planned communities in the making”.  Location not determined, but it’s probably at or near the Salton City Airport.

 

AL & CHRIS’ RV PARK (Imp)

...SEE Corvina Estates

 

BENSON(S) LANDING (Imp)                                                                                                

AKA - Westmorland Landing

1960s marina and landing on the SW shore of the Salton Sea, north end of Poe Road, 2 mi N of SH 86 at a point 9 miles NW of Westmorland, 6.9 miles SE of the jct SH 78/86.  With the sea level having dropped several feet since 2007, the old site is walking accessible now.  Remains include the tire-lined road, broken dike walls, power poles and the rickety remains of the frame of a square structure.

 

BERTRAM (SIDING) (Imp)

Southern Pacific RR siding 4 miles S of the county line, E side of the Salton Sea between RR Mile Post (RRMP) 646.0 and 647.8. 

 

BETZ BEACH (Riv)

MAY BE an earlier name for Mecca Beach, or may be an earlier development that was superceded by Mecca Beach. 

 

BOB’S PLAYA RIVIERA (Imp)

AKA - Playa Riviera

Just S of the county line, W of SH 111 and about ¼ mile N of Corvina Estates.  Private campground/boat launch. 

 

BOMBAY BEACH (Imp)

On E shore of the Salton Sea.  Partially flooded by the sea.  A dike separates it from the sea.  Est 1929, & by 1966, was a booming beach town. Flooded by a pair of tropical storms in mid 1970s.  See a photo of Bombay Beach here.  Extensive changes since February 2007. In Oct 2009, the marina and crane are high and dry.  The old bakery truck is gone.  The famous trailer pictured nearly everywhere is a crumbled heap of debris.  The old hardware store and other buildings on the sea-side of the dike have been extensively vandalized and grafittied. 

 

CALEB (SIDING) (Riv)

            Southern Pacific RR siding/loading point W of Box Canyon, 3.8 miles SW of Mecca and 4.9 miles NW of Mortmar Siding (North Shore), N of the N tip of the Salton Sea. 

 

CHARLIE’S PLACE (Riv) 

Location not determined. North of the county line along the E shore of the sea.  Near Durmid Siding? 

 

COOLIDGE SPRINGS (Imp)

On Coolidge Springs Rd, NW corner of the county, ½ mile W of SH 86, SW of Desert Shores, W of the Salton Sea.  

 

CORVINA BEACH (Riv)

AKA - Salton Beach


In 1939, Salton Beach was a small resort on SH 111, 4 miles S of Date Palm Beach and 13.2 miles S of Mecca. That would place it right at Salton Siding/Corvina Beach.  May be original name for today’s Corvina Beach, now an unimproved campground on E shore of Salton Sea, 3 miles SE of North Shore. 

 

CORVINA ESTATES (Imp)

AKA - Al & Chris’ RV Park

W side of SH 111, 0.4 mile S of the county line.  Abandoned café on highway and RV park to W. 

 

CORVINA MARINA (Imp)

...SEE Desert Shores

 

DAMASCUS (Riv)

Paper town platted in 1894 a mile SE of Mecca.  It never developed beyond the map.

 

DATE PALM BEACH (Riv)

...SEE Desert Beach

 

DE ANZA BAY MARINA (Imp)

...SEE Lido Palms Marina

 

DEL MAR ESTATES (Imp)

...SEE Salton City.  One of the several named subdivisions in Salton City.

 

DESERT BEACH (Riv)

AKA - Date Palm Beach, Eiler’s Salton Sea Resort, North Shore (GNIS)

A faded community on NE shore of the Sea about ¼ mile S of North Shore marina, a mile N of Salton Sea State Recreation Area entrance.  Established in the early 1950s.  The development is gated for residents only.  NO PUBLIC ACCESS.


 

DESERT CAMP (Riv)

AKA - Palm Island Estates

Mobile home development, ¼ mile S of SH 111, 6.5 miles SE of Mecca, btw Arthur & Cleveland Streets, 2.2 miles W of the big curve NW of North Shore.

 

DESERT PALM BEACH (Riv)

Was located N of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area headquarters.  A photo in The Salton Sea shows a marina & wharf with buildings on it.  It flooded with the rising sea. Probably same as Date Palm Beach/Desert Beach (above).

 

DESERT SEA RANCHOS (Riv)

MH park site at the east end of Parkside Drive, 1.7 miles east of the junction of Parkside Drive/SH 111 at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area headquarters entrance south of Desert Beach/North Shore, in the triangle formed by Parkside Drive, Powerline Road and Desert Aire Drive.

 

DESERT SHORES (Imp)                                                                                

AKA - Corvina Marina, Fish Springs

Faded beach town from the late 1950s-early 1960s resort boom on W shore of the Salton Sea.  On E side of SH 86, just 2 miles S of the county line. 

 

DOS PALMAS (Riv)


Site located about one AIR mile SW of Dos Palmas Spring, about 5.5 AIR miles ESE of Desert Beach, 13 miles SE of Mecca.  Stage station and prospecting center, 1939 guest ranch, late 1940s a popular Hollywood celebrity retreat known as Rancho Dos Palmas.  In 1989, the California Nature Conservancy obtained the property, and has turned it into a nature preserve.

 

DOS PALMAS STATION (Riv)

AKA - Dos Palmos Post Office

Southern Pacific RR station est 1877.  Served as a construction camp, RR maintenance & travel center for folks traveling the Bradshaw Road.  Flooded in 1906, when Salton Sea formed.

 

 


DOS PALMOS POST OFFICE (Riv)

...SEE Dos Palmas Station

 

DRY ICE WELLS (Imp)

East shore of Salton Sea, 4 miles W of Niland, W of the jct of Davis/Noffsinger Roads. 

 

DURMID (SIDING) (Riv)

Southern Pacific RR station and siding on the E shore of the Sea, just N of the county line.  Removed c1960.

 

EILER’S SALTON SEA RESORT (Riv)                     

...SEE Desert Beach

 

EL RANCHO DEL SOL (Riv)

This privately campground/trailer park was located on the S side of SH 111, 0.3 miles E of Desert Camp, about 1.8 miles W of North Shore. It has also been shown on maps at two other locations.

 

FERRUM (SIDING)/JUNCTION (Riv)


AKA - Salton Siding (#2)

Railroad siding/junction est 1948 by Henry J. Kaiser at the Southern Pacific RR siding of Salton (#2).  This was the junction of Eagle Mountain Railroad/Southern Pacific.  On N side of SH 111 two miles N of the county line at MP 2.0.  Rails, rubble & a large bin remain.

 

FIGTREE JOHN SPRINGS (Riv)

There are two locations for this historic old spring on W side of Sea.  The original site N of county line was flooded by sea in 1906-1907.   Relocated to the former Agua Dulce Spring, E of Oasis(?). 


 

FISH CAMP (#1) (Imp)

Underwater about 4.5 miles NE of Elmore Desert Ranch.

 

FISH CAMP (#2) (Imp)

1.1 mile W of Wister Station, northwest of Niland.

 

FISH SPRINGS (Imp)

At or near Desert Shores, W side of the Salton Sea.  It appears the spring has been flooded out, & was located at Desert Shores.

 

FLOWING WELLS (Riv)

Probably along SH 111 about 3 miles SE of Mecca and 3 miles W of Desert Camp.

 

FRINK (SIDING) (Imp)

AKA - Frinks


Southern Pacific RR siding on NW side of the jct SH 111/ Niland Marina Rd, 11.4 miles NW of Niland adjacent to the Border Patrol Checkpoint.

 

FRINKS (Imp)

...SEE Frink Siding

 

HELEN’S BEACH HOUSE & HARBOR (Imp)

...SEE Salton Sea Beach

 

HELEN’S PLACE (Imp)

...SEE Salton Sea Beach

 

IMPERIAL SALT COMPANY PLANT (Imp)  

Former 1800s salt processing plant 12 AIR miles NW of Niland, offshore from end of Niland Marina Road.

 

LIDO PALMS MARINA (Imp)

AKA - De Anza Bay Marina

Marina located at N end of Camino Drive, N of Salton City.  

 

LOPP’S TRAILER PARK (Imp)

...SEE The Corners

 

MARINE VILLAS (Imp)

It was listed in a 1961 article a “planned communities in the making”.  The location is not determined.

 

MECCA BEACH (Riv)

Campground 1.5 miles SE of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area headquarters.  Betz Beach is on the N.  In Oct 2009, it was closed.

 

MORTMAR (SIDING) (Riv)

AKA - Mortmer, Mortmere

Southern Pacific RR siding and former station in the heart of North Shore, between the hwy & res distr of North Shore Estates, on N side of the Sea, nine miles SE of Mecca. Foundation of a section house, tamarisk trees and

rubble remain.

 

MORTMER (Riv)

...SEE Mortmar         

 

 


MORTMERE (Riv)

...SEE Mortmar

 

MULLET ISLAND (Imp)

In early 1950s was a peninsula on SE shore of the Sea five AIR miles WSW of Niland &  N of the mouth of the Alamo River.  Now a small island a mile offshore.  A 1920s and 1930s duck-hunting club and retreat. 

 

NAVAL AUXILIARY AIR STATION - SALTON SEA (Imp)   

AKA - Naval Air Facility - Salton Sea, Salton Sea Base, Salton Sea Naval Base, Salton Sea Naval Test Base, Salton Sea Test Base, US Salton Sea Base

Historic Navy Air Station 1942-1979.  On a small point, on SW shore of the Sea a mile N of where San Felipe Creek flows into it, 3.2 miles E of SH 86.  CLOSED TO VISITORS.

 

NEVA’S STORE (Riv)

...SEE Skip’s Store

 

NEW LIVERPOOL SALT WORKS (Riv)                     el                                             -


1884 salt works on dry playa.  A spur RR line ran out into the dry lake bed W of Salton Station.  Flooded in 1906.  It is underwater due S of North Shore and W of Corvina Beach.

 

NILAND MARINA  (Imp)

1.9 miles west of The Corners.  Abandoned marina/campground flooded by Sea.  Remains include several restroom buildings & concrete rubble of former marina.    With the sea level down a couple feet, the marina entry walls are now exposed and accessible.

 

North Shore (Riv)

AKA - North Shore Estates, North Shore Marina & Yacht Club


Faded town on both sides of SH 111, on NW corner of the Sea about 9 miles SE of Mecca.  Remains include slab of old motel, marina/yacht club and a closed market. 

NOTE*  Motel demolished in 2008, and the yacht club has been renovated and operates as a museum.  See photos at link above.

 

(OASIS) LANDING (Riv)

An UNNAMED boat launching ramp was shown on several mid-1960s maps on the western Salton Sea shore, east of Oasis and the junction of SH 86/81st Avenue.  ANYONE know anything about this one???

 

OLD SALTON CITY (Imp)

...SEE Salton City (1st site)

 

PALM ISLAND ESTATES (Riv)

...SEE Desert Camp

 

PLAYA RIVIERA (Imp)

...SEE Bob’s Playa Riviera

 

POPE (SIDING) (Imp)

Southern Pacific RR station and siding 1.8 miles W of Hot Mineral Spa Road and 1 mile NE of Bombay Beach Road turnoff from SH 111, on E side of the Salton Sea.  No remains. 

 

RANCHO DOS PALMAS (Riv)

1 AIR mile SW of Dos Palmas Spring & 5.5 AIR miles ESE of Desert Beach.  Part of Dos Palmas oasis (above).

 

RANCHO MARINA (Imp)

Marina, launching ramp and private campground.  Was ½ mile N of Desert Shores on W shore of the Salton Sea.

 

RED HILL MARINA (Imp)

As the sea level has dropped, the marina is no longer accessible to the water and is not active (Oct 2009).  The campground on the north side of the former “near island” is still active with numerous permanent looking campers. 

 

SALT CREEK BEACH/CAMPGROUND (Riv)

Unimproved campground on E shore of Sea just S of Salt Creek, 1.5 miles N of the county line. 

 

SALTON (#1) (Riv)

Flooded Southern Pacific RR, station/siding for New Liverpool Salt Co. Company-owned salt camp w/ housing and commercial support.  In 1906 flooded by the rapidly forming Salton Sea.  The site is underwater.

 

SALTON (#2) (Riv)

...SEE Salton Siding (#2)

 

 


SALTON BEACH (Riv)                                                                                   

...SEE Corvina Beach

 

SALTON CITY (Imp)

Quiet, faded beach town on W side of the Sea.  Est 1959 and boomed through mid 1970s.  Existing homes scattered across the large townsite mix with many graded, scrub-covered lots.  Between February 2007 and Oct 2009, the former site of the old Holly House and its famous sign has been redeveloped into a modern mini strip mall. 

 

SALTON DEL MAR ESTATES (Imp)

...SEE Salton City.  One of the several named subdivisions in Salton City.

 

SALTON PARKSIDE (Imp)

Possible MH development on the W side of Range Rd, 1.5 miles N of its jct w/ SH 111, due E of Bertram Siding. 

 

SALTON PARKVIEW ESTATES (Imp)

Possibly a failed mobile home development on E side of the road and ¾- mile SE of Salton Parkside (above). 

 

SALTON SEA (town) (Imp)

On 1940s era maps on W side of US 99 (pre-SH 86), 2.4 miles due S of Salton Sea Beach Rd jct & 3 miles N of Truckhaven.  That puts it in area of the Salton Sea Service Station, Salton Sea Oasis and Sea View Park. 

 

SALTON SEA BASE (Imp)

...SEE Naval Auxiliary Air Station - Salton Sea.

 

SALTON SEA BASE B-2                                                                                          


¼ mile S of where Truckhaven Trail crosses Amerosa Wash, about 0.9 miles N of golf course, W of Salton City.

 

SALTON SEA BEACH (Imp)

Faded beach town from heyday in the 1958-1976 period.  E of SH 86, 4 miles S of the county line.  Numerous old trailers and homes on the north end of town that had been flooded and abandoned have been removed or torn down.

 

SALTON SEA NAVAL BASE (Imp)

...SEE Naval Auxiliary Air Station - Salton Sea.

 

SALTON SEA NAVAL TEST BASE (Imp)

...SEE Naval Auxiliary Air Station - Salton Sea.

 

SALTON SEA OASIS (Imp)

E side of SH 86, 1.3 miles N of Treadwell Ave., which is 3.7 miles N of Salton City.  This appears to have been an ill-fated subdivision or trailer park in the area between Desert Shores and Salton City.

 

SALTON SEA SERVICE STATION (Imp)

W side of SH 86 on N side of Gravel Wash, 6 miles S of the N county line & 4 miles E of the W county line.  It is probably the same location as the modern Torrez-Martinez Travel Center on W side of SH 86, 1.6 miles S of the Salton Sea Beach turnoff & 2.0 miles N of Treadwell Ave (turnoff for N end of Salton City).  

 

SALTON SEA TEST BASE (Imp)

...SEE Naval Auxiliary Air Station - Salton Sea.

 

SALTON SEA TEST BASE B-1 (Imp)                                             


WWII- era military base E of the SE tip of Salton City, NE of the airport, N of Surprise Wash. 

 

SALTON (SIDING) (#1) (Riv)

...SEE Salton

 

SALTON (SIDING) (#2) (Riv)

...SEE Ferrum (Siding)/Junction

 

SALTON (SIDING) (#3) (Riv)

Southern Pacific RR siding 2 miles NW of Ferrum Jct., across from Corvina Beach, 5 miles SE of North Shore at the curve in the RR. Nothing remains.

 

SEA VIEW BEACH ESTATES (Imp)

Another failed MH development on E side of SH 111, 1.5 miles WNW of Frink Siding/The Corners, due N of Niland Marina. There is no evidence of any development beyond grading and a crumbled road.

 

SEA VIEW PARK (Imp)


West side of SH 86, 1.1 miles N of Treadwell Ave., which is 3.7 miles N of Salton City.  At or near 1996 map location of “Salton Sea.”  Nothing visible, but some grading occurred in past. 

 

SKIP’S STORE (Riv)

AKA – Neva’s Store

This still active (Dec 2006) store on S side of SH 111, 0.2 miles W of jct of SH 111/Bay Drive, W of North Shore. 

 

SQUEAKY SPRINGS (STATION) (Imp)      

AKA - Winona


On W side of SH 86 about 1.7 miles SE of Salton City, ½ -mile NW of Salton City Airport Road.  Nothing visible.

 

SUNDIAL BEACH (Imp)

On W shore of the Sea, 3 miles S of the county line, and S of Desert Shores. Name appears in a 1961 article as another of the “planned communities in the making.” 

 

THE CORNER(S) (Imp)

On E side of Salton Sea, at SE corner of jct of SH 111/Niland Marina Rd, 5 AIR miles E of Bombay Beach.  The site of this corner store/gas station, propane filling station, small RV camp (LOPP’S TRAILER PARK) is located across from Border Patrol Checkpoint.  The buildings still standing in February 2007 were gone October 24, 2009. 

 

TRUCKHAVEN (Imp)


Old service station/café on E side of US 99 (today’s SH 86), 1.3 miles NW of Salton City.  Remains include tamarisk trees, concrete slabs & scattered debris. 

 

U.S. SALTON SEA BASE (Imp)

...SEE Naval Auxiliary Air Station - Salton Sea.

 

WESTMORLAND LANDING (Imp)

...SEE Benson Landing           

 

WHITEWATER COVE (Riv)

A 1966 trailer park, store and boat launching ramp at the S end of Johnson St., on the N side of the Whitewater River where it empties into the north end of the Sea. Flooded out.

 

WINONA (Imp)         

...SEE Squeaky Springs

 

WISTER (SIDING/STATION) (Imp)


Southern Pacific RR siding 8 miles NW of Niland on E side of the Sea.  Trees mark site E of Sand Wash, W of SH 111.  Across from the sdg, & N of the CA Fish & Game Wister Unit complex are 3 abd 1960s-1970s vintage houses and outbuildings. 

 

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FIRST POSTED:  August 10, 2007

LAST UPDATED: November 02, 2009

 

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