Latitude / Longitude:
33°51′27″N 115°29′14″W / 33.85750°N 115.48722°W / 33.85750 -115.48722
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Eagle Mountain, California, is a modern-day ghost town in the California desert in Riverside County founded in 1948 by noted industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. The town is located at the entrance of the now-defunct Eagle Mountain iron mine, once owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad, then Kaiser Steel, and located on the southeastern corner of Joshua Tree National Park. The town’s fully integrated medical care system, similar to other Kaiser operations in California, was the genesis of the modern-day Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization. Eagle Mountain is accessible by Riverside County Route R2, twelve miles (19 km) north of Desert Center, midway between Indio and the California/Arizona state line along Interstate 10. The town’s relative youth and brief time of abandonment make Eagle Mountain among the country’s best preserved ghost towns.
Founded in 1948 by Kaiser Steel Corporation, Eagle Mountain is located at the entrance of the now-defunct Eagle Mountain iron mine. As the mine expanded, Eagle Mountain grew to a peak population of 4000. It had wide, landscaped streets lined with over four hundred homes, some with as many as four bedrooms. Two hundred trailer spaces and several boarding houses and dormitories provided living space for Kaiser’s itinerant workforce. Other amenities included an auditorium, a park, a shopping center, a community swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, and a baseball diamond. Businesses included a bowling alley, two gas stations, eight churches and three schools.
As of July 18, 2007, the town of Eagle Mountain is no longer openly accessible. The perimeters of both the town and mine have been fenced and gated, with a site manager appointed to handle access requests.
The Eagle Mountain mine is currently the location of a proposed 1300 MW hydroelectric plant by Eagle Crest Energy. The company agreed to buy the land from CIL&D (the new name of Kaiser Ventures) in July 2015. The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project would pump groundwater from the Chuckwalla Valley aquifer into two reservoirs comprising former mining pits, where water would be pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir during low electricity demand, and pumped back down through turbines during high electricity demand. In November 2016, NextEra Energy announced their partnership with Eagle Crest in the project. The project is praised by supporters for the purpose of bringing more renewable energy in California, while also being criticized by environmentalists for potential damages to plant and animal life in and around Joshua Tree National Park.