Mystery buyer purchases California ghost town for $22.5 million
Eagle Mountain, Calif., sits nestled just outside the Joshua Tree National Park, about three hours east of Los Angeles. No one has lived there for roughly 40 years, but a mysterious buyer just paid $22.6 million for the ghost town.
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The 10,000-acre site has been a go-to location for filmmakers, with key scenes in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me having been shot there. Late last month, though, a company called Ecology Mountain Holdings bought the property. Its plans for the area remain unclear.
Eagle Mountain was, at one time, a company town for Kaister Steel’s mining operations. Thousands of workers used to call it home, after a day of excavating ire ore from nearby mountainsides. By 1983, though, the mine had shut down—and the town with it, leaving the remains of hundreds of stucco and plaster homes and a 350-seat recreation hall to the ravages of time.
Beyond its onscreen appearances, the land has been targeted for many projects, none of which has ever really come to long-term fruition. In 2000, Los Angeles County bought the land for $41 million, with designs of using it as a landfill, but that failed after a long legal battle.
Fifteen years later, there was talk of building a hydropower plant in the area, but conservation groups scuttled those plans. And for a short time, it housed a correctional facility, but that closed in 2003 after a riot.
Ecology Mountain Holdings doesn’t have a notable presence in California, beyond a business address in Cerritos. SFGate reports that it’s best known for its trucking fleet, which utilizes large red rigs.
A website for Ecology Transportation Services, which shares the Cerritos address, says the trucks are used “for bulk waste, recyclables, heavy haul/oversize loads, and containers to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”
One possible hint about Ecology’s plans could lie in nearby Desert Center (about a half-hour south of the ghost town). In 2021, trucking giant Balwinder S. Wraich purchased more than 1,000 acres there, with plans to build a truck stop, gas station, hotel and fast food restaurants.
“My goal is to get something big in the next two years,” he told SFGate. “It’s going to help the community.”
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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