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California City has never really grown up

One developer’s dream of the 1960s is California’s third-largest city, but due to its small population, it’s a small town with room for growth.

California, California — Just outside the Mojave Desert, between Highway 395 and Highway 14, California’s third largest city. Streets and utility spider webs across desert landscapes.

The only problem is that the streets here don’t go anywhere and almost all the parcels are empty. This desert mecca is California City, a community of master plans that didn’t really grow.

People live here, but the boundaries between the road network and the city are much larger than the needs of the current population. Patricia Gorden, a long-time resident, says a man talked to her and her remaining neighbors to move here.

“Nathan K. Mendelson. I don’t know what the” K “means, but his name is that. If you wanted to run this store, there was a sign that says “” in an empty grocery store. Please call this number. Two months later, he moved to Labor Day in 1961. “

Nathan Mendelzone, a Czechoslovak immigrant and professor of psychology turned into a land developer, had one dream in his life. It’s about building a huge city.

“He had a lot of New York investors in this property. They first built a park and handed it over to the city,” Gorden said.

Mendelson was not a minimalist. He wanted California City to rival other big cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, and was successful in a way. At present, California City is the third largest city on land in the state. It spans almost 204 square miles.

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“If you build it, they will come.” That was the basic idea.

Mendelson was a true salesman and captivated people all over the world with his flashy advertising and cheerful marketing. After giving the city a nickname of “Land of the Sun,” buyers came by bus. Some people flew by plane. Landing on an unfinished street.

“Initially, he lived here with many retired people with stable incomes, and the house was cheap. I think we paid $ 11,000 for 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.”

Road signs, roads and utilities were built, but when California City resolved to establish it in 1965, it had a population of less than 10,000. When the city didn’t grow, investors left and stopped paying property taxes. Mendelson was forced to sell. Most of his business share.

“That’s the end of Mendelson. He left with a broken heart. He died of a heart attack on a golf course in Texas.”

California City did not become a haunted city. About 14,000 people call the “land of the sun” their hometown.

Recently, the economy has been supported by tourism from the nearby Red Rock Canyon State Park and three different military bases. If you’re wondering about the waters of the desert community, California City is on a huge underground lake.

“My uncle dug a well with a 6-foot-deep hole digger,” Gorden said.

Medellson’s dream of a big city may not have come true in his lifetime, but with rising house prices in California, who knows what will happen?

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