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Photo of the Slab City Christian Center taken in October 2007.

Slab City or The Slabs (located at 33°15′32″N 115°27′59″W / 33.25889°N 115.46639°W / 33.25889; -115.46639) 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 unforbidding; 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.

In popular culture

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.

It was featured in the radio documentary program Hearing Voices episode "Small Town" the week of November 11, 2009. The segment's synopsis is "This town in California never did exist, though it’s full of folk who live there: an unofficial RV Park and home to the homeless thrives in culture and community.[1]"

Slab City is also the focus in the documentary photographic series The Last Free Place, by British based photographer Leon Diaper, which examines the community of squatting campers who dwell in the area.

References

External links

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