Niland and Slab City

Niland Travel Blog

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Gaston's restaurant... er, concrete slab..
Niland's the "twin city" of Calipatria, just up the road. Slab City is included here because it's not in the database. For good reason.

Niland's a tiny agricultural community that formed back when water was brought to the valley. Before that, it was open desert. There's a lot there that's abandoned. Gaston's Restaurant - just a sign and a slab. Gas station - burned down. Grain silos - abandoned. Church - semi abandoned. Airport - abandoned. Cemetery - reclaimed by the desert with hardly a trace. You can still buy lunch, get a tank of gas, and rent a video though.

Slab City is, well, sort of a forgotten corner of the desert that's been taken over by "Slabbers" as they call themselves. It's a rare place where you can live for free.
The main drag through Niland
Through some loopholes in the laws, you can roll your RV or trailer or whitewashed surplus school bus into this abandoned military base and claim a little spot to stay. It's just remote enough and undesirable enough that no one bothers you there. The community is self regulating, everyone knowing that they've got a good thing going. There's even a library, bar, garage, barber shop, and other little businesses run out of people's trailers. Hundreds of people live here during the winter, including "snowbirds" visiting from Canada to escape the cold. The more hard core residents live here year-round, braving the blazing summer heat in metal trailers...

Slab City's best known resident is probably Leonard Knight. He built Salvation Mountain out at the edge of town. It's actually a natural hill that Leonard had enhanced, to spread God's word through... lots and lots of paint! For years people have donated surplus paint and he has created an entire world entirely with dried paint. The colors and patterns and quotes are so intense. You don't get a sense of the scale of it until you get close! He was proud to have it declared a World Folk Art Site a few years ago.

If you respect the Slabbers, they're nice folks to meet. You should go out to Slab City if you get a chance and check it out.
was_a_slabber says:
hey i used to live at the slabs i rasied there and i will tell u what i would give up all my stuff to move back to th slabs i loved it i met my husband there i will move back someday
Posted on: May 02, 2008
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Gastons restaurant... er, concret…
Gaston's restaurant... er, concre…
The main drag through Niland
The main drag through Niland
Nice abandoned house for sale
Nice abandoned house for sale
The shopping district
The shopping district
One gas station burned, but the ot…
One gas station burned, but the o…
Really scary  ..abandoned  prescho…
Really scary ..abandoned presch…
A scary trash can at the preschool
A scary trash can at the preschool
Magic Castile preschool
Magic Castile preschool
Abandoned outdoor oven
Abandoned outdoor oven
Abandoned Civil Defense radio shack
Abandoned Civil Defense radio shack
The plastic frames have warped and…
The plastic frames have warped an…
Entrance to the abandoned Immacula…
Entrance to the abandoned Immacul…
El Camino  de la Cruz - the Way of…
El Camino de la Cruz - the Way o…
These 14 very humble stations of t…
These 14 very humble stations of …
Welcome!
Welcome!
Abandoned ammunition bunker is a r…
Abandoned ammunition bunker is a …
Fat Liar
Fat Liar
Im guessing a fat liars buried h…
I'm guessing a fat liar's buried …
Salvation Mountain out at the edge…
Salvation Mountain out at the edg…
Enterance
Enterance
The hollow part of the Mountain, I…
The hollow part of the Mountain, …
Seas and mountain ranges in the l…
Seas and mountain ranges in the "…
Base if the Mountain
Base if the Mountain
A lot of paint
A lot of paint
Salvation explained in one meter l…
Salvation explained in one meter …
Some less elaborate dwellings
Some less elaborate dwellings
Another decorated yard
Another decorated yard
A cool car, there are a lot here
A cool car, there are a lot here
Another military relic
Another military relic
Niland
photo by: stevenguyen