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Mysterious Buyer Acquires California Ghost Town for Millions

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Asecret millionaire has acquired a deserted town in the California desert for a remarkable sum of $22.5 million. Eagle Mountain, a former bustling community located on the fringes of Joshua Tree National Park, has now come under the ownership of a company called Ecology Mountain Holdings.

Limited details are available to the public regarding this enigmatic entity, apart from its business address in Cerritos, California. SFGATE reports a connection between Ecology Mountain Holdings and Ecology Transportation Services, a well-known company recognized for its distinctive red semi-trucks, comprising the front portion of a tractor-trailer.

Eagle Mountain Acquisition LLC, a company based in Ontario, California, emerged as the buyer of the town. Interestingly, it appears that this company is the final successor among several subsidiaries of Kaiser that have owned the town over the past four decades.

Back in 1983, Eagle Mountain flourished as a vibrant company town, predominantly sustained by the workforce employed at the Kaiser Steel mine. During its prime, the town boasted a thriving community, comprising residential areas, commercial establishments, and even a high school.

After the decline of the Kaiser mine in the 1970s, Eagle Mountain took on a new role as the site of an ill-fated low-security correctional facility named the Eagle Mountain Community Correctional Facility. This prison commenced operations in 1988.

Within the town, various structures including the former bowling alley and café were repurposed to accommodate 438 inmates. These individuals were serving sentences for nonviolent offenses and parole violations. The privately-run prison aimed to facilitate career development among inmates while also striving to reduce recidivism rates. In 1992, the Press-Enterprise described the prison as a catalyst that revitalized the once-desolate town, breathing life into its otherwise ghostly ambiance.

During the month of October 2003, a tumultuous riot erupted within the prison’s recreation room as inmates were engrossed in watching the World Series. Tragically, this incident resulted in the loss of two lives, and subsequently, eight inmates were faced with murder charges.

To ensure constant surveillance of Eagle Mountain, a handful of foremen have taken up permanent residence within the premises. The street they inhabit is adorned with lush palm trees, providing a vibrant contrast to the rest of the town, which remains veiled in a layer of undisturbed dust.

Spanning a mile in length, the town still preserves the remnants of its former glory through several hundred abandoned structures. These once-thriving edifices were once homes, businesses, and community centers, composing a picturesque and serene village. In the days of yore, children gleefully traversed the manicured streets on their bicycles, occasionally colliding as they engaged in exhilarating games of chicken under the expanse of the vast blue sky.

Over time, Eagle Mountain has garnered attention from the entertainment industry, particularly Hollywood, as a sought-after location for creating surreal settings. The abandoned town served as a fitting backdrop for the climactic scenes in Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet,” incorporating its mechanical wreckage into the cinematic narrative.

However, the predominant reputation the town has acquired is that of a destination for curious onlookers, resulting in frequent trespassing and unwelcome intrusion. Numerous videos on platforms like YouTube showcase these venturesome individuals crossing the boundaries to gaze upon the decaying remnants of the town, perpetuating its status as an object of fascination.

A potential clue regarding the identity of the town’s purchaser and their intentions may lie in the fact that Balwinder S. Wraich, a prominent figure in the trucking industry, acquired over 1,000 acres of land in Desert Center in 2021. Desert Center is a town situated on the same road as Eagle Mountain.

Wraich is involved in the operations of Wraich Transport, a company located in the nearby city of Fontana. In the past, he has expressed his vision for the area, shedding some light on his plans for the newly acquired land.

In an interview with SFGATE, Wraich openly shared his plans for the area, stating, “We’re aiming to establish a truck stop, gas station, and hotel.” Recognizing the lack of dining options within a 40-mile radius, he expressed his goal of bringing significant development to the region within the next two years. He emphasized that such an endeavor would not only benefit the community but also fulfill a pressing need in the area.


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