Slab City

Slab City or The Slabs (located at coord|33|15|32|N|115|27|59|W|type:city_region:US) is a camp in the Colorado Desert in southeastern California, used by recreational vehicle owners and squatters from across North America. It takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned World War II base Marine Barracks Camp Dunlap there. 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 climes. The temperatures during the summer are forbidding; nonetheless, there is a group of around 150 permanent residents, who live in the Slabs all year round. Most of these "Slabbers" subsist on government checks (SSI and Social Security) and have been driven to the Slabs through poverty; some of the "slabbers" also have a strong desire for freedom from the American government.

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 to generate electricity. Supplies can be purchased in nearby Niland, California, located about three miles (5 km) to the southwest of Slab City.

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.

Slab City was featured in the book "Into the Wild" and also in the 2007 movie of the same name. The video for "Fourth of July" by Shooter Jennings is partially set at Slab City.

External links and references

* [ Official Slab City home page]
* [ Tioga George's "Vagabonders" web page.]
* [ Desert Dutch's Slab City web page.]
* [ A Myspace page about Slab City]
* [ 2004 New York Times article, login may be required.]
* [,+california&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=33.258391,-115.463068&spn=0.010102,0.023239&t=h&om=1 Aerial photograph (Google Maps)]
* [ Topographic map (TopoQuest)]
* [ Aerial photograph (Terraserver)]

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