Eagle Mountain, CA: From Boom to Bust to Boom to Bust

Eagle Mountain

The United States has many ghost towns scattered throughout the West. Most have the same story: A deposit of some precious metal is discovered, then a town is set up and people flock to the new town in search of riches. Eventually the natural resources of the area run out and if the town had no other industry, it would die.

A unique story is that of Eagle Mountain, California. A rich iron ore deposit brought Henry Kaiser (of Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Permanente fame) to the area in 1948. The mining produced iron ore for 35 years before lawsuits shut operations down.

Eagle Mountain was not done, however. Numerous attempts to bring industry back to revitalize the town have tried, and failed, to resurrect the old mining site. So what is standing in the way of progress? The answer might just be surprising.

Map it!

Eagle Mountain


Kaiser Foundation

Eagle MountainIn 1942, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser built the West Coast’s first steel mill in Fontana, California.

However the rich iron ore deposits were over fifty miles away, accessible by train via the Eagle Mountain railroad.

To reap greater financial rewards, Kaiser purchased the land with the rich iron ore deposits outside Fontana.

Eagle MountainKaiser founded the town of Eagle Mountain in 1948 with the intent of setting up an open-pit mining operation for the iron ore.

Similar to Fordlandia, Eagle Mountain was a company town; the town was founded with the single intent of acquiring natural resources from a remote location.

Eagle Mountain
Eagle Mountain is abandoned today


Eagle Mountain Rise & Decline

Eagle Mountain

Henry Kaiser raised the appeal of his company town by offering all the typical services one would have in a city: Eagle Mountain had wide paved streets, dormitories, and over 400 private homes.

Kaiser also added lighted tennis courts, several schools, an auditorium, a park, a shopping center, a swimming pool, a bowling alley and almost a dozen churches.

When completed, Eagle Mountain was a typical American small town.

Production from the mine was increased for World War II and at its peak, the town had a population of over 4,000 people.

The mine produced a steady supply of iron ore for 25 years until the 1970s, when environmental concerns started curtailing mining operations. During this time the population in Eagle Mountain would dwindle to 1,890.

By 1980 only 750 workers remained at Eagle Mountain. A year later the Kaiser Corporation announced a planned phasing out of the mining operations altogether.

The post office, opened in 1951, would close in January of 1983. In June of 1983 the final high school class graduated, and soon after the mining operations were shut down permanently.

Eagle Mountain Railroad
Eagle Mountain Railroad


Second Chance

Eagle MountainDespite no longer having industry and thus no source of income, several stayed behind in Eagle Mountain.

For some it was out of financial necessity; for others it was home and family history wouldn’t let them leave.

Three years later, hope for the struggling town would improve; in 1986 the Department of Corrections proposed placing a private prison on the land. Plans were approved, and by 1988 the old Eagle Mountain shopping center had been converted into a prison.

For the next 15 years the small town would enjoy a small resurgence. Unfortunately a series of budgetary cuts in 2003 would see the prison closed. With no other industry to support the remote town, Eagle Mountain would fall dormant once more.


Third Chance

Eagle MountainThere were proposals in the late 1980s to turn the giant open-pit mine into a modern sanitary landfill.

Refuse would be shipped via train on the unused Eagle Mountain Railroad, from Fontana to Eagle Mountain.

Numerous environmental lawsuits would hold up the project, and after fighting litigation for nearly a decade, the private ownership group finally gave up in 1999. For now, it seemed Eagle Mountain was once again doomed to be a ghost town.

Eagle MountainRenewed hope for the landfill plan came in August of 2000 when Eagle Mountain received EPA approval as a refuse site. Despite the approval from the EPA, more environmental lawsuits would pop up and again.

Since the law requires all lawsuits be resolved before landfill operations can begin, the project was held up once more.

Another decade later, the lawsuits still continue to keep the project from progressing.

Eagle Mountain mining complex
Eagle Mountain mining complex

Bleak Future

Eagle MountainIn 2011 Eagle Mountain was reportedly dealing with the final lawsuit. Unfortunately for the small town it might be too little too late; a lot has changed in the waste disposal industry the last 25 years.

Los Angeles and Fontana have long since signed contracts with other waste management sites, leaving Eagle Mountain looking for a host industry once more.

What do you think? Is there an industry that would suit Eagle Mountain and keep it alive?

Eagle Mountain

Map it!



  1. Any idea how accessible this place is? I looked it up on the map and it looks to be in close proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, so I would think it isn’t very accessible.

    It appears like it would be one hell of a road trip and camp out/BBQ on a long fall evening.

    And only now, I notice your “Map it!” link. :palmface:

    • I am a former resident of that town. It is not accessible to the public, has a fence and guarded gate at the road leading into town. You have to establish a connection for access. There is no water and quicksand pits in various locations outside the town limits. Not recommended for night visits. It is also 60 miles from the nearest real town, only a shell of a town within 12 miles.


        • I was searching for information about Eagle Mountain on google. And read your post. It is so sad to hear about your childhood nightmare. Wish you have a wonderful life now! God Bless You!!!

      • It was almost a magical time and place, those who lived there miss it for those reasons. Lake Tamarisk, a small man made resort town is only 7 miles away. Indio is the place 60 miles away, but to someone who now lives in a much bigger city, I realize that was not so far away

      • Diana, I am a former resident as well. My name is Michael Bilyeu and my father was the Underground Mine Superintendant. We left in 1972. I have been wanting to make a trip to see EM and it looks like this summer will be it. Do oyu know antything about the guard and the possibility of getting into EM

      • Diana, thank you for the information. My father worked there in the 60s and 70s and I have been wanting to visit…. Guess reading the historical background will have to do.

        • My father worked there as well in the 60″s my family lived in indio till a house came up for us, there was 5 of us kid’s, we had some Really good friends Cahills Les and Shirley they had a son his name was Lester also. Are friends that lived behind us Byrine, and Barbara Twaits and another girl younger i can’t remember her name though.
          All of us kid’s are old now my oldest sister Phyllis was 69, she just passed away ? I’m the youngest, and I’m 62 so it’s been yrs, the last time i was there though was 13yrs old so that was 1967 and i stayed with Shirley and Les CaHill for 2 or 3 week’s my folks let me ride back with them in there jeep and they were both Drunk they even drank while we were driving back there we lived in San Bernardino they were visiting us it was the best time i ever had they both gave me money every morning, Byrine and i would meet me and we would be gone all day, ya i looked her up when i went back. Sorry I’m talking so much i just never thought I’d see anyone else that lived there. I will ahut up now.

  2. This is really interesting! I find places that have a story like this fascinating and some day want to plan a road trip around the US visiting them. Something that you would probably find interesting is the Salton Sea, located south of Palm Springs. My husband and I went there last year while we were visiting San Diego (we drove 6 hours round trip to visit this place and it was well worth it). The history is super interesting- the result of man altering the natural terrain which became a destination for the rich and beautiful until it slowly starting dying. You should look into it!

  3. It’s sad to see our town in such shambles, I’d love to see it again but not sure if it would be better or worse to see it like that. Need to see my old friends there, that would make it better.

  4. This is definitely not a location for casual exploration. It’s fenced, guarded and not maintained for public safety. Although it appears to be abandoned, it is guarded 24/7 and even snooping around the perimeter will garner attention of a guard in a pickup who will watch you. It was open for years but due to the actions of some, it is now fenced and locked up.

    This is almost a sacred location to the people who grew up here, and yet we cannot get in to see it. Our homes are in ruins or were sold off in the eighties and moved. But, we still treasure it and would hate to see anyone go in and get hurt in the unmaintained streets or homes or get arrested for trespassing. That would only make it harder for those of us who call this our hometown to ever get to go in even on a very limited guided basis every few years.

    However, you can see a bit of Eagle Mountain by looking at the Youtube videos of Top Gear shows that are filled there, pulling down shells of houses, racing through streets, riding down mountainsides. One is a Suburu versus a Yamaha bike. Look it up.

    Just don’t try it yourself. It’s remote, quiet, guarded and hard not to be noticed. Also, if you did get hurt and were not noticed, it could be years before your remains were found. If you were found right away, you might face a criminal complaint. Not trying to scare anyone, but I wouldn’t go there without permission, and I’m from there. Very different from an old town that just died off when the ore gave out.

    • How would I find out about getting the special permission? Our family lived there between 1968 and1972.

  5. I’d love to see the tailings pile gone so the view could be restored, and the town rebuilt. That tailings pile grew and grew and grew. It was background for many of our photos in the sixties.

    • Did it ever occur to you (or to any of us for that matter) when we lived there that having the elementary school right across the road from the tailings as a somewhat unsafe idea? It didn’t occur to me until many years later, 🙂 I miss our town. I only lived there for four years, (1964 – 68), but it has always been home to me. If you haven’t done so yet, look up the Eagle Mountain Refugees FaceBook page. Cheers!

      • I loved watching the trucks back up and dump at the top of the pile. I was in Mrs. Salveson’s class in third grade and spent a lot of minutes watching out the window. It never dawned on me it could be dangerous, or that one of the dump trucks could actually back over the side.

  6. my family lived here in 1956 to 1957 no stores no schools just the mine ulgy place for a teen.

  7. I really enjoyed this —-all the scenic pictures and old houses etc—-my husband and I lived at Eagle Mountain—in June 1961 for about 3 weeks–we lived in a mobile home—I believe ? it was space # 3—-my husband Frank Dobbins Jr—died suddenly on July 2 1961—–and we had 2 children—-Cindy 4 yrs and Jim 18mos—-I have often wondered how it would be to live there—-we lived in Desert Center for almost a year before that—–I worked at the diner in Desert Center—and my name is Marianne Dobbins and I would love to hear from some one that lived in either place——-I live near San Diego now—–have a great day—–Marianne——my e-mail address is -Dishied@ Juno.com

    • Fool yourself. As a former resident, I would hatee to see it turned into a landfill. There were other options considered, including an hydraulic power generation plant. I think more profitable and environmentally friendly options exist. I’d like to see a reason for people to move back there again. A garbage dump isn’t the answer.

      • For some people a desert is home, for people like you things like that are negative or or unaccepta or ” garbage dump land” home is where you make it not what you have or how much money you have or the things or property you have, it’s a place that makes you feel like home whether it’s family, location, love scenery, Etc. there’s too much hate and negativity in the in this century. Don’t make it be one more person.

  8. I lived in Eagle Mountain (1209 Smoketree) from 1975-1977. I have many happy memories of living there. It’s so sad to hear how it is now. I live in Alaska now and am taking my family on a road trip in a few short weeks to WA, OR, CA, AZ and NM. We’ll be stopping in Desert Center to visit relatives and hope to make the drive to Eagle Mountain…at least to the gates. Too bad we can’t go see the old house though. 🙁 ~Dawn (Hamilton) Duval


      • Hi Renee..my name is Sam and I lived there from 64 to 69…I to would like to go back…just to see..I don’t know why because it wasn’t happy memories for me either…I was born in Indio in 1964..I’m so sorry that happened to you..but I’m glad you were able to get away somehow…good bless you..I hope someday you are able to do what you need to do and find peace.. 🙁

    • Lived in EM from 1966 to 1983. Many great memories and many not made as we can’t visit our beloved town or even attend a homecoming game. No going home for the holidays either. Maybe one day the owners will have a homecoming for all who grew up at such a great place.

  9. i lived in EM from 65 to77 we were so happy there now all i have is my mom and step dad here and we want to go back so bad for a visit

    • Oh my goodness! Billy Wameling! I remember you.. Our dog Shang bit you in the stomach because you took his favorite rock!

  10. Eagle Mountain, a town filled with fond memories. I graduated in 1977, I loved my high school, and the teachers were awesome. My classmates were a blast. My name is Irma Gott (Garcia). There were two Irma Garcia’s, one in the 7 th grade and myself a senior. The flash flood is one of the strongest memories. I used to work part time at the summit truck stop. Any former classmates out there? Email me, at irma.gott@yahoo.com

    • My brother was in your class, Brian Owens. I’m his younger sib Mike. I lived in Eagle Mountain from 66-83

  11. We tried to visit at the end of January 2012 for part of a “History of Kaiser Permanente” project my wife was putting together. She has worked for Kaiser for more than 20 years. There is a gal who works at a nearby clinic serving the residents in the area and Desert Center who can grant access, and I was directed to her by one of the folks at the mobile home/retirement village near the EM site. Unfortunately that visit sort of fell apart. Something changes in 2012 where it essentially went from “free escorted access” to having to get a permit at some outrageous cost because they now see it as having commercial potential for movies and TV (e.g. like the Top Gear episode mentioned previously.The only part of the site that is accessible is the Henry J. Kaiser school at the far Southwest end of town. The rest of the town is fenced off to prevent vandalism and for safety reasons. I can confirm there is a guard and full time maintenance person who occupy the buildings at the Southeast corner on Kaiser Road, and they can see your car coming up the road from more than a mile off. They may not make their presence known, but if you try to cross the fence line or go out of their site, they will introduce themselves. We shot pictures of the school and houses from the fence line, but when we walked too far away from our car, the guard came out and made sure we knew he was there. He was a nice guy but no amount of social engineering was able to get us in, even for five minutes as we really wanted to photograph the main street with the shopping center/converted prison. If you’re going, be prepared for a long drive without a lot of success.

    If you want to get a picture of the original Eagle Mountain sign, it is actually behind the Kaiser Steel rail car leaning up against a tree by the diner in Desert Center close to the 10 freeway.

  12. to those who have said they love ghost towns. I was raised there from age 6 to18. Eagle mountain is my home. I miss it and it makes me sad in a way few can understand to see it in its current state. You see I had no idea what we had there until it was gone. I am 48 now and still long for home.

    • Hello, keith i remeber you and had a great time being your friend.Going to school together and playing sports what a great time growing up.

    • Hi Keith, I agree. We were in the same class. It was a very special place, and full of great people!

  13. I lived in there it the age of 10 I remember the trailer court my older sister Margaret was prom and home coming queen.I have slot of good memories there in this old ghost town . I even remember the earth quake .what a scare

  14. I lived here from 1978 to 1983. Went to High School here, played in a band, met the mother of my children here. as a matter of fact, the very first picture shows the house I lived in 2nd house from the right with the pallet or sign leaning on it. This place was and still is important to so many who lived here. Very sad that this town is in such bad condition without much hope of improvement. I would almost rather see it demolished outright than just left to rot. It would be nice if someone did SOMETHING constructive with it… Solar power, water collection, hostile environment training center, Wildlife refuge for Desert species, SOMETHING other than a prison or a dump…

    • Hi there! Wow…another classmate who remembers the pleasure of living there. Wish I had more pictures of when it looked really nice to show people. I too, wish someone could bring it back to life. No place to go back to for a reunion with old friends. Really sad.

  15. Lived there from 1959 to 1970 – then again as an electrician at the mine from 1973-1977. Lots of good memories small town sow you had many opportunities for sports at the high school. Great place for dune buggies and dirt bikes. In the early days it was considered private property so we were driving/riding motorcycles at an early age . I had my first motorcycle at age 12 and was driving by then as well

  16. I moved to Eagle Mtn. in Sept. of 1953. I went all through school there, graduating in 1967. I moved away until 1969 and didn’t leave again until Dec. of 1982. Someone wrote it was a bad place for teens, but it was so much different when I was growing up. There was so much freedom. It was like an oasis in the desert. Almost everyone had nice lawns. Water was free, electricity was free. We had a 3 bedroom home with refrigeration for $59 a month. If something went wrong with the plumbing, you called Needles or Gent in housing, and they would see that the problem was taken care of. Again, at no cost. For me, with the freedom, it was paradise.

    • That’s how I remember it Susie, I had 3 little boys I raised partly there, we lived there from ’65 to ’72 and were just waiting for our 3 bedroom house when we moved…our 2 bedroom was $55 and bugged Needles (was that Jim Bruce?) everyday to see when our next bigger house would be available. Unfortunately things weren’t working out but that’s another story. I really miss the closeness of that community tho

          • My parents were Harley and Thelma Schroeder. My Uncle Bill Schroeder worked there too, as well as my Uncle Lee McDonald and Uncle Bill Lewis. People used to joke in the early days about not saying anything bad because it might be one of the Schroeders or Shorters, or some relation of them. There were a lot of them at that time.

            • Susie, when your Uncle Bill Schroeder was married to Marilyn , my ex-husband Iggie Grywusiewicz and I used to go flying with them all the time, we were pretty close friends. I think I remember your parents. Arnold Jent must have come later, after we left in ’72. I remember Jim Bruce, I think i used to drive him crazy checking on our position for our next bigger house. I really loved living in EM, our last house was a 2 bedroom on Verbina, right on the corner of Verbina and the main road (don’t recall the name) We had a huge bouganvilla bush by our front door.

                • Yeh, I think I stated that, the 4 of us hung out quite a bit. She flew me to see the ocean one day but alas it was a very cloudy day, had to wait for long time to finally see it. We saw “Sound of Music” in Palm Springs. I never knew they had gotten a divorce, it’s sad to lose track of people.

  17. That was Arnold Jent in housing. He was my father in law. My family has ties to Eagle Mountain in several ways! My grandfather was Harry Creveston who began working there in the early 50’s. He drove one of those huge dump trucks! My father Chuck Fowler worked there for a short time in the early 60’s. My ex husband Dennis Jent drove a dump truck as well in the early 80’s, we left in 82. My family lived in Indio after my father quit the mine but my sister Juanita and I spent every summer from 1963 to 1977 in Eagle Mountain with our grandparents Harry and Gertrude and our Aunt Nancy! Now Nancy Shorter she married Tommy in 1973. I married Dennis in 1978. Those summers were the best! Swimming at the high school pool, going to the baseball games, movies at the auditorium. My grandparents house was right across the street from the Mormon Church, we would sit out on the lawn in the evening and watch the cars coming and going. The mornings were spent at the kitchen table in front of the big window drinking coffee (yes we were little and drank coffee with our grandparents) again watching cars and people go by. I could go on and on about my memories there, I miss it so much!

      • I lived in Eagle Mountoin in the 60′ I remember my Mom mentioned the name Barbara Hall allot. The Richard family, my dad was Maurice Richard.

  18. My grandparents lived there for years with my mom and her sister, Harry & Gertrude Creveston were my grandparents. They lived on the corner of the main street coming into town and Smoketree Dr. right across the street from the LDS church and next door to the Eller’s. My siblings and I spent many summers there and have wonderful memories of it all! We talk about it all the time.

  19. my famliy lived in the toen from 1967 to 1984 .my mom gladys fermon everbody score keeper was thier until her death in 1985, we had a great time grown up thier and also
    the great many of friends we have made plenty of great memories and long time friends.thier was a note i read about a kidnapp in 78-79 about two girls, i know for sure and with the memory of this tragic never accoured also asking of other people from this time never heard of this either. Thier was so tragic moments of love one we lost by car acciendts and health problems but not of dark nature, not to cover up and dark spots but to keep the history true of great moment in my life i called home and a little slice of heaven

    • Hey Erben so good to see you here. I remember your mom and she was a great librarian, scorekeeper, person. I lived in EM from 1967-1983. It was a great town to grow up in and a very safe place for children to be raised. I miss it and the people.

      • Hi guys…been a long time since I heard ether of those names. Mike Owens here. James, you were in my class all the way from kindergarten up. Hated the place when I was a kid but didn’t understand until years later what a great place it was to grow up. People will never understand the freedom we had as kids. Didn’t have to worry about all the city stuff. At 6 or 7 years old, we could take off and not even go home until dinner and the folks didn’t even need to worry.

  20. Erben Fermon :my famliy lived in the town from 1967 to 1984 .My mom gladys Fermon evrybody score keeper was thier until death in 1985, we had a great time grown up thier and alsothe great many of friends we have made plenty of great memories and long time friends.thier was a note i read about a kidnapp in 78-79 about two girls, i never heard of will living thier at this time. Thier was some tragic moments of love ones passing but not of dark nature, not to cover up any dark spots but to keep the history true of great moments in my life and a place i called home and a little slice of heaven

    • Like you, Erben, I never heard of any kidnapping. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I just never heard of it.

  21. I remember your Mom so well Erben, she was a grand lady. I left in 1972 so don’t remember anything that happened after that, but friends who stayed never said anything about such a tragedy such as mentioned above.

  22. Im a Verizon employee.I have to go to Eagle Mt from time to time to maintain the phone service to the former Eagle Mt High School(now k thru 8th grade).Verizon still has a central office in the town,so I get to drive thru town past all the old houses,churches and business.It really is a ghost town now and I always wonder what it was like to have lived there in its heyday and after reading all the posts on this site it sounds like it was a great place to live.

  23. I was there from 1963 until 1970. I was only 3 when we moved there.. I remember the Huffs, Billy Wameling, May Brown, Oscar Perez, several others I’m sure..my brothers Jim & Mark & my sister Connie & I would go out in the desert all the time & catch lizards & turtles to bring home & keep in our backyard! Lots of good memories there!

  24. What a crap hole. Whoever says they loved that place was affected by all the chemicals in the drinking water. Only reason it isn’t a landfill is Kaiser will not sell rights without release from Epa liability and private environ lawsuits.

    What a s*** hole!

    • My, aren’t you the angry one! However, I lived there from 1953 to 1967, then came back there in 1969, not to leave again until Dec. of 1982. Please don’t presume to tell me that I didn’t love it there. You have no idea how much I loved it.

      • I made an almost identical post as yours Susie, even the angry comment but apparently didn’t go far enough to post it, sometimes I just don’t always have the comment savoy, anyway that’s pretty much my thought exactly…sorry he had such a miserable existence. I loved living there and all the friends we made.

    • You are missing the whole point bully bob. Childhood memories were made in that place, the bonds of friendship… Something I don’t think you experienced.
      I too loved there for a short time and loved it.

  25. Eagle mountain is still home. I’ve been in the phx area almost 30 years. But Eagle Mtn will always be home. I moved to desert center and finished first grade there. Then went to 2nd grade at Eagle Mtn elementary, and and graduated high school there in 1980. There is a bond between us that were blessed enough to grow up there. I miss my hometown.

  26. I lived there from 1975 to 1984. My family owned the shopping center till 1979 when my mother(Pat Statler) and step father(Ken Statler) divorced. Ken continued to own it till it closed, I believe. Lived in Lake Tamarisk for most of those years, but I attended school there in Eagle Mountain. The friendships that people had, were close friendships. You pretty much knew everyone in town. Crime was there but not as it is in other towns. You could walk all over the whole town without worrying about people being mean. Because everyone kinda knew each other, nothing went unseen. There was the bowling alley, horse corals, bonfires, and swimming. We didn’t have a whole lot, but never seemed to be bored. I will ALWAYS call Eagle Mountain my home. My whole adult life still feels a connection to the people that I knew in Eagle Mountain, and it always will. Great foundations were built there!!!!

  27. Hi all.former worker,welder mech,tool room, Scoutmaster,fireman,4h,ect, helped build play ground ,raised 36goats in pen for meat and milk, a Morgan horse,peanut the poney.Kaiser got shut down by the EPA by a 13 million fine . They couldent make payrole and pay fine too. So the mill was closed and the pit. There is still iron ore , a large deposit of gold ect , kaiser has a 99 year lease raised my children there and have good memories only regreat not able to retire from there had a couple of years to go lol.

  28. I lived there from 1972-1981, I was a baby when we moved there. My dad Alvin Cole and uncles Dillion and Donald Cole worked at the mine. I may have been young but the memories I have will stay with me always. It was a different life there. I remember not being afraid to be outside after dark, not having a fear of something happening to me. Although I remember a few bad things happening (forgive me I was to young to remember names) an older woman stabbed her husband in Desert Center and covering him with baby powder, my aunt & Uncle owned a station/watering hole in Desert Center, she was robbed and the man hit her in the head with a claw hammer, she wore wigs for a long time…these things were few and far between….I remember walking to school, picking pomegranites, going home for lunch, a trip to the mine got to stand by the truck my dad drove, heck the wheel itself was twice as big as my daddy was, the shopping center…we lived directly across the street from it at one point there on Main street, the bank that sat on top of the hill, with the steep walkway, my cousin and I was riding a 10speed dwn the walkway into the parking lot, she decided to go the opposite direction, busted my head open, Dr. Smoot fixed me up..for some reason I remember him…lol…Eagle Mountain will always be home to me…unless you lived there I don’t think you could comprehend the serene peace that follows most all of us, the true sense of enjoying our childhood, no fear of being kidnapped or anything like that, we just lived,

  29. All I got to say is eagle mountain was a amazing little town . We moved there in 1972 till 1982. And I had a good life there not saying it was perfect at all times but it was a good life. I met some amazing people there had some awesome friend and met the love of my life there. Just want to say it was a great place for a family to live..

  30. I was a baby when we lived here, back in the early 70’s. We lived there for a few years maybe till the mid 70’s. I can only remember a few things like the heat, the fire ants and the big dump trucks. My dad was Richard Carmichael and worked in Accounting. I usually never mention Eagle Mountain for the fact that most people have never heard of the place.

  31. I went to work at Eagle Mt. in 1965 at the school for the pellet plant before we started it up. later on I meet my wife(she worked at the restraint) Ruth L. Steensland after we got married we got a house #9 bald eagle dr. we left late in 1969, it was some of the greatest times we ever had sometimes I wish we never left. it was a great place to work and live.

  32. hi all my name is Darryl smith when I lived there my name was Darryl west I went to school K thru 5 does anyone remember me I was there between im guessing 1968 till 1971 I think. I remember rusell ward, blaine merchant, deena gaston, ernie magee. that’s about all I remember my mom was tonia west step dad larry west my aunt was Dorothy mcatlin my uncle was curt mcatlin. I have been reading all the posts. im going to blythe next weekend to a blues concert I want to take my wife to see em but it bummes me out that its a ghost town. my emailis darrvw924@aol.com.

  33. In 1974 I was 9 years old and living in Blythe, CA. I had a little girl friend that lived next door and one day her family and her moved to Eagle Mountain because her dad got work at Kaiser Steel.
    I never thought of her when I was young but I do now from time to time and I wonder what became of my first kiss. Something pulls at my heartstrings when I think of her now and I feel melancholy when I hear the name Eagle Mountain.

  34. We lived in Eagle Mountain in the mid ’60 my dad Maurice Richard worked as a “boss” in the mines. My mom’s name is Clarisse, she had 4 kids. Our neighbours were the Gains, my best friend was Calvin. I have no memory of living there but we have allot of pictures, of friends coming over for BBQ, dinner and Christmas. I would love to hear from someone back in that time 🙂

  35. It’s interesting to me how many extended families worked and lived in Eagle Mtn. My family lived there for my entire childhood, 1966-1983. My mom, Evelyn worked in the payroll office with my aunt Margaret and my dad, Bill was a heavy equipment lead mechanic on the primary crusher while my uncle. Doug worked in heavy equipment operations. All my siblings graduated from EMHS, my sister Nancy in ’74, my brother Brian in ’77 and I would have been in the last class of ’83 but lived with my sick grandmother in Blythe that last year. I only wish I could have found a place like that to raise my family.

  36. Hi. I lived around Eagle Mountain and worked there from early 1974 to August 1976. I still have lots of good memories from that place, even though it was “out in the boonies”.

    I fell into mining about 1972 at the US Gypsum quarry and went to Eagle Mountain from there in 1974. When I left US Gypsum I was making $3.50 per hour. When I went to work for Kaiser, they paid me over $6.00 an hour! Talk about BIG MONEY! I had never seen that much money before! But I did learn to spend it.

    I don’t remember too many people from there. I lived in a small trailer court about ¼ to ½ mile SW of the old Eagles lodge (gone now). I rented a trailer there from a lady named Mrs. Boohheim. Before he died, her husband was a foreman (gold hat) in either the truck shop or the CAT shop.

    My best friend there was a guy names Jack Towne. He and his wife Mary and their little girl lived in the trailer court east of Desert Center. I lived there for a couple of months also. The pool actually had water in it then! Clean water that you could swim in! Jack and I spent a lot of our days off, when we didn’t need to go to Gemco in Indio for groceries, 4-wheeling out in the desert. We covered a lot of territory around the Old Woman and Chemehuevi mountains east of Eagle Mountain. We also spent a lot of time in the sand dunes out towards Rice and General Patton’s desert training grounds.

    People can say what they want to about that place, but it did teach me a trade that I was able to put to work in Wyoming when I left Eagle Mountain. Without that opportunity, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Thanks Kaiser Steel!

    Thanks for the page,

    Butch Waters

    • Mr. Waters, how interesting… According to bank records, my father made half a million working there…And we lived in the neighborhood in North Indio near the old Gemco…

  37. My family (Jimmie & Gwen Giles, me-Di Ann, my young sister Connie & my brother Randy) moved to Eagle Mountain Jan.1960 we lived with my grandparents (Floyd & Iris Anderson) on the 900 block for 3 months until we got a 3 bedroom house on the 400 block. In the early days we called our home, “Eagle Mountain Camp”, I remember when they paved the streets, I remember the little tin store before the shopping center was thought of. The swimming pool up by the store then when our high school was built it was a new bigger pool by the high school gym & tennis courts. I remember everyday @ 3:55 the sirens would warn us of the dynamite blast. I remember attending most of the churches with my friends. Early on the RecHall was where we all took turns having our worship services. The Halloween carnivals, the library on the side of the RecHall where we could take home so many wonderful books. the trampolines they installed @ the elementary school. Baseball games, football games. Our new football fields w/ new lights & a birds nest where I could see my dad taking pictures. I love thinking about the many parades we had (church, school & community). Fun to remember when they built the shopping center & our little cafe & the variety mart & our wonderful new store. The soda machines in the laundry mat. Trading pop bottles in to buy penny candy. They built a new bowling alley but I was not able to go in that area of town without my parents because it was in the barracks. The very hot summers & the wonderful mild winters. I remember playing outside many Christmas’ with bikes & toys Santa brought us & not even needing a jacket. I do remember it did snow a couple of times & turned our little camp into a winter wonderland. I loved the green grass, the parks, the schools where we could play anytime we wanted. Always feeling safe in our little camp. I loved the swimming pool in the hot summer & our air conditioning unit would be set @ 70 degrees all summer long. If the air did break down they would put a temporary swamp cooler in the window until the air was repaired. If we wanted to paint our house we would call Needles & the next day the paint would be delivered & the same with maneuer. The grass would stink for awhile but then it would turn to a beautiful green. The rent for the house was taken out of my dads check (at one time it was $56. a month). The cable, electric, water & trash were all taken care of by Kaiser. I loved the summer monsoon’s during the July/August months, every year our little desert oasis would flood. If our parents knew we were swimming in deep mud holes we had found in the desert they would not have been very happy. I remember packing a lunch in the morning & returning home when the street lights would come on just in time for dinner. In 1960 Kaiser built us a church. I was taught so many wonderful gospel principles in our cute little white church. I didn’t know everyone’s name but their faces were familiar to me so I did feel safe. I loved all my teachers I had in school & church & BlueBirds. I especially loved my high school experience. I loved our school colors, blue&gold & being the Eagle Mountain Eagles. I had a crush on a new boy in the 7th grade (there was no way I would tell anyone my deep secret about the crush) but 10 years later I married that 7th grade crush. It is very sad to see our Camp is now a ghost town. I have always felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world to have grown up in such an amazing little Camp.

    • I knew your dad, but I’m not sure I knew any of the rest of you.

      You have put into words my feelings about the camp. I always described it like an oasis in the desert. People don’t believe me when I tell them how it was. It seems too good to be true to them. It was, I believe, a magical place to grow up.

      Did you ever hike the old goat trail? Or go out to the second gulley? Those were big adventures for me. I could go to the first gulley by myself, but my brothers had to be with me if I went to the second one. I used to go down to the Pumping Plant on my bike; also the corrals. What fun I had there.

    • Di Ann, I forgot to mention my maiden name. It was Schroeder. Harley Schroeder was my dad and Bill Schroeder is my uncle.

      I married Chuck Hawkins. He has since passed, but we were married for almost 40 years.

      • I do remember your name & your family. My dad seemed to know so many people from swimming, photography & other things he was involved in. I always felt like we were very blessed to have that experience in the Oasis, like you said. I really could go on forever about all we had & did. Love it all.

  38. I lived in Eagle Mountain until I was in 4th grade, with my family we were the Gray / Day family. I remember living in the trailer court. My Oldest Sister Margaret Day was Homecoming Queen and Miss Eagle Mountain. I STILL REMEMBER MY Step father John Gray coming home after a hard day work from the mine. It’s sad to say 50 years later it has become a Ghost Town !

  39. I lived there from 86′ to 99′ at the mwd water plant but went to school in Eagle Mt when they converted the old High School into a K-8 school. We had one teacher in a class room for two grades. until you got to 6th then we had one teacher in a class room with 6th 7th and 8th graders. It was neat there were so many locked rooms and areas of the school we weren’t allowed in….but would snoop around when given the chance to sneak off. I remember sneaking into the locker rooms of the gym…it was so spooky. It was like people just up and left. I had friends that lived in eagle mt, when visiting with them we once snuck into the old abandoned theatre and the old abandoned elementary school we were so amazed at how there were still desks set up in the class rooms and stuff every where. I have so many memories there. I graduted from 8th grade there and started in !st.. but I havent been back since I moved away in 99. I miss it so much and would love to back. the school that I went to I think has stopped operating since I left. From the sounds of it. Even when prisoners would escape..and they did they would go straight to the pumping plant…there was even a time one stole a work van from the inside and crashed it into the big gate to get out….they would call us and inform us of the escapee so we could protect ourselves..then there would be helicopters flying over like mad. anyway I could keep going…I sure miss it there.

    • Yes it is. Was your maiden name by any chance Buchheim? I know I probably spelled that wrong, but the only Roxie I knew was Bruce Buchheim’s sister.

    • i still do
      ATV with Lk. Tamarisk guys, golfing , hiking, and stay busy getting very little done
      Pat Kearn

  40. A small correction to the article; is my understanding the resources were far from depleted and depletion of resources was not the cause of the actual shutdown of the mine. The shutdown more to do with the court case against Kaiser in the 1980’s and the EPA fines and restrictions that were being imposed. My father, a former miner said even the large tailing hills of residual material still had the potential to be processed if it was needed in the future. There was plenty of material to mine there still – John Crane (resident 1974-1982).

  41. Hi my name is Marianne Richard, my dad Maurice was manager at the mine. We lived in eagle mountain in 1965 to 1970. I will never forget eagle mountain, it will always be home for me. I was only three when we moved to EM from canada. I remember my neighbor chuck gaines, I can’t find him anywhere on internet. I remember the recreational center, my mother and sister participated in a pagent there. I was part of the blue birds, went to Sunday school. My brother andre was part of a baseball team. This site is so cool, I very happy to have found it. Thanks.

  42. Thank you to all for the historical richness…. I heard many a story about my father’s employment with Kaiser Steel, and I appreciate the corroboration by all… Wish I had found this website and postings sooner! Thank you!

  43. I didn’t get to live in Eagle Mountain. When I graduated H.S. there ( 1970 ), my family lived @ Tamarask, but I loved my time there.

    Damn the EPA. Bet they use the steel, that the mine produced all those years.

    Would be great to find all my old class mates.

  44. My father was retired medically, ( lost his hearing )
    While working in the pellet plant. He worked @ Eagle Mountain for many years.

    Curtis & Leta Langford. Both now living in Bossier City, LA.
    We, all, miss the desert, Eagle Mountain, & the people we shared life with there.

    Wonderful memories.

    • JR, are you the brother of Ken Langford? If so, I went to school with you both in Blythe before you moved and we also bowled together (my mom was our coach). Please tell Ken hello; I’ve thought of you both often.

      Lenita Brownlee Kellstrand

      • Hi Lenita. It’s Ken. How surprising, and very enjoyable, to have stumbled on this site and your reply post to J.R. (Jimmy to me). Thanks for remembering me from so long ago. I’ve thought of you also. Best wishes.

        • Terrific to hear from you, Ken! I’d love to catch up. If you are on Facebook, please look me up. Also, many of us from the class of 71 still get together in So Cal from time to time, and we’d love to have you join us if you are still in the region.

  45. Di Ann I knew your grandparents Floyd and Iris. I remember you and Connie and Rae Ann. I also knew your parents. Your grandfather,we called him Andy back then baptised one of my daughters..

  46. Does anyone remember Byrineor Barbara Twaits? or any of the Dickies Linda, or any of her brothers? There mother Arlene Dicky? Or Lester CaHill parents Shirley and Les? My parent’s Albert and Gloria Glosch all of us Kid’s there was 5 of us Phyllis, Joyce, Marie, Paul, and me Della. I remember my teacher caught me with bubble gum in my mouth it was a big piece and she made me kneel down on my knees for a really long time and she drew a circle on the chalk board and i had to put the gum in the circle and made me put my nose against the gum all threw recess and during class, i have knee problems today because of her.

    • Byrine and I started Kindergarten and graduated together. I know all of them, Jackie passed away several years ago, she was the oldest. Byrine next then Barbara and Donna the youngest. I also know Lynn Cahill (first name Kinsey actually), he graduated in 1967 with my sister. Yes, Roy Dickey.

  47. Great article, thanks!

    Maybe you can help me. I’m trying hard to find an abandoned swimming pool in the middle of ‘nothing’, but no luck yet. Do you remember seeing one in this or other ghost town?

    Thanks in advance!

    • There is one in the old high school that they turned into the K-8 school and its outside the gated area you just have to get permission to use it , 1 (760) 392-4227

  48. i lived in Eagle Mountain IN the 70 79 my Warren ST Cin I loved that please the glass mates I was class of 76 Mr holder was our class mentor then there was Mr McDowell and no one can for get him and Mr Canada i hope my glass mates will call me 9515515911 I do not know what happend but I looked in the giass and the person looking back a 61 year old time when buy to fast it was siower in EAGLE MOUNTAIN the good old days take care Warren

    • No we can’t forget those incredible teachers that came to us, commonly fresh out of school, provided a glimpse of the outside, and grew with us. Come to the Eagle Mountain Refugee riunione in Laughlin April 20th the 22nd 2018. I am teary-eyed after reading all these posts. No, no one else who didn’t live there could possibly understand.

  49. Hello to all my fellow EM Friends:

    My name is Paulette Bryant (age 69 – CA), Parents: Paul (passed 2007) and Laura (age 87) Bryant, younger Sister, Pam (live in TX). We lived there 1960 to 1964. We lived in the first house on 700 block Oleander St. The Butlers lived at the end of our street; George and Mae Butler, kids: Pam, Kay, and younger sister, Kathy? I think!

    Across the street the Phillips; Nelson and wife? ____; kids Sandra, Danny, Jerry, Edward, and couple of others that I don’t remember their names. My boyfriend was James Nelson (passed about 2012?). Classmates: Gene Manley, Dean Jones, Danny Brooks, Suzie Schoeder, Cindy Eller, Wanda, Ernie, Tom, John McDonald, Randy, Sally & Nancy Shorter, Doris Capps, Mom’s friend, Helen Platt (her son: Steve Printy), and, my amazing music teacher, and so many others… and my best friends, Kay Butler & Sandra Phillips. I miss them all! Mom and I talk often about EM Days and all the wonderful times we had there.

    I remember getting the tour of the NEW high school, going to the first dance, and signing up for my freshman classes, which included Drama and Music (I was a professional singer). Then dad moved us…. it was awful! We hated it when dad’s job transfered to northern california. We cried a ton of tears.

    Mom and Dad went back to the Reunion in 1980 and she and I went to one in 1998? I think. We met with several old friends… it was amazing. No one can tell us that EM wasn’t the best little community to live in… Of course, we weren’t there in the years that followed, but many of our friends kept up posted on the changes, deaths, move in and out of families, and the work itself.

    Anyone still out there, please contact me. Would love to hear from you all again!

    Martha Paulette Bryant

    • Hi Paulette, I remember you! My sister (Kathy Moore) was also in your class and she ran around with you and Kay Butler at times. Kay’s other sister was Janice. There’s a reunion in Laughlin, NV every year, you should come. Join the Eagle Mountain Refugees page on Facebook, you’ll have to answer a few questions and then you can see all the people on there and the details about the reunion. Several that you mentioned are on Facebook.

  50. I worked at Eagle MT. from about 1973 to 1976 in the pellet plant. I lived in trailer park single room setup. Lots of booze and weed !! John Blanco and were great friends.

  51. I did some drilling up at the mine in May of 2019. They are planning on building a pumped storage hydroelectric facility. The ghost town and mine are really cool to see. The day I pulled into the gate there was a crew filming the movie Inception 2 in a very dilapidated section of buildings. I have some pictures of that and the area if anyone wants to see them. I have no idea when this article was written because it isn’t stated here. My email is rjroberson32@gmail.com if anyone is interested in seeing some pics.

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