Slab City

slab city

Slab City is a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, used by RV owners and squatters. It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from abandoned World War II Marine barracks (Camp Dunlap). A group of servicemen remained after the base closed, and the place has been inhabited ever since (although the number of residents has declined since the mid 1980s). Several thousand campers, many of them retired, use the site during the winter months. These ‘snowbirds’ stay only for the winter, before migrating north in the spring to cooler climates. The temperatures during the summer are unforgiving; nonetheless, there is a group of around 150 permanent residents.

Most ‘Slabbers’ subsist on welfare and have been driven to the Slabs through poverty. The site is both decommissioned and uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. The camp has no electricity, no running water or other services. Many campers use generators or solar panels. Supplies can be purchased in nearby Niland, California, located about three miles away. Located just east of State Route 111, the entrance to Slab City is easily recognized by the colorful Salvation Mountain, a small hill approximately three stories high which is entirely covered in acrylic paint, concrete and adobe and festooned with Bible verses. It is an ongoing project of over two decades by permanent resident Leonard Knight.

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