The town of Eagle Mountain, California, ceased to exist in 1983. Located near Joshua Tree National Park, it had long served as a company town for a mining company called Kaiser Steel, where it was home to 4,000 mine workers and their families. But when the mine shut down, the town shut down with it. Except for a brief stint as a private, low-security, prison, it has been abandoned, serving only as an occasional movie set and location for urban explorers. It’s now added an extra layer of intrigue: SFGate reports that a mysterious company just purchased the land for nearly $23 million.
Because it’s largely surrounded by protected land, conservationists have long hoped to add the town and former mine site to the adjacent parks. But the Los Angeles Times reports that the city of Los Angeles nearly purchased the land in 2000 for $41 million—but with plans to make it a landfill. Those plans met with opposition and fell through. A new owner purchased the land in 2015 with the goal of making a hydro-plant in the mine. That plan also fell through. Now, the question is who are the new owners and what do they plan to do with the site?
The new owner, reports SFGate, is a company called Ecology Mountain Holdings. The only public information about it is the address at which it’s registered, which it shares with a trucking company called Ecology Auto Parts, though neither have commented on the story so far. But the Los Angeles Times spoke to Levi Vincent, president of the Greater Palm Springs Film Office, which coordinates with film and TV producers interested in shooting at the mine, who says he has been in touch with the new owners and that shooting can continue. What the longer-term plans are, though, remains a mystery.