What's Happening To The Last Free Place In America?

What's Happening To The Last Free Place In America?

A snippet of the what the last free place in America is all about.
202
views

640 acres of desert,140 miles East of San Diego lies the "last free place" in America. Slab City, CA.

What used to be an old, abandoned marine training base called Camp Dunlap, is now a squatter community. After the military left, the concrete slabs stayed, thus creating Slab City. Starting out as a campground to come to during the winter months where the population swells to about 4,000 people, a small portion of people stay year-round.

However, many are deterred from staying because of the extreme conditions. In the summer, temperatures can reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite most people leaving after the winter is over, the year-round population of roughly 200 people are free to do as they wish. Being separate from the government allows them to live without paying rent or having zoning laws. Even though this freedom may come free in terms of money, it is not free all around. There is no electricity, no water, and no sewer system. There could also be munitions and military waste buried in the soil. At which point the Federal government is looking into this.

In Slab City, there are no stop signs, the homes are made of a variety of makeshift shelters ranging from old school buses to tents made from pallets and blankets to make them sturdier. Not everything is this run down, there are more upscale "houses" which are nicer RV's, some even have solar panels. The community has made a church and a library as well.

Slab City not only serves as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world but also as a place to create art. In one section of Slab City called East Jesus, there are many creations of art that people have made over the years. The art is generally made out of trash, items that would have been sitting in a landfill are either repurposed or used to make pieces of art. For instance, one sculpture is of a mammoth made completely out of tires.

This piece of land is owned by the state of California and they have recently put it up for sale. Alarming the residents of Slab City, they have decided to make an effort to buy it. The community is worried that Slab City could be turned into a geothermal energy or solar energy plant, destroying the last free place in America.

At the moment, Slab City's future is uncertain due to the fact that many of the residents live off government aid and Social Security. They need to raise approximately $500,000 in order to have enough money to buy the land for themselves. Right now, they have not come up with the $5,000 needed for the application deposit.

If you feel like this is the place for you, here are directions for getting you there. I bid you farewell and safe travels. Simply drive towards Niland on Highway 111, turn east on the street by United Grocery. Then travel for 3.5 miles to the city. The Salvation Mountain marks the entrance.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
364816
views

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Signs You're From New Hampshire, Wickedly So

I'm never cold, apparently.

1957
views

I have been told that everyone from New Hampshire is always obsessed with New Hampshire; I can't blame them since is it a wicked cool state. If you or someone you know is from New Hampshire I guarantee these are 10 things they can relate to:

1. You love Aroma Joe's.

Anyone not from the northern New England area probably has no idea what Aroma Joe's is. It's basically the Starbuck of New Hampshire. Known for flavored coffee and energy drinks all Rush. Every other high school student would stroll in late to school with the iconic Aroma Joe's foam cups (which have now been changed to clear plastic to help the environment).

2. The Sheetz and Wawa's debate means nothing to you.

There is a huge debate among select states over which GAS STATION has better food. Yeah, weird right? Of course, we New Hampshire citizens have spent our fair share of time at the Chill Zone at a Cumberland Farms or 7/11 but getting real food from a gas station is a whole other story.

3. You know what fried dough is.

One of the most shocking things I learned while living out of state is that not everyone knows what fried dough is. They have a similar treat called Funnel cake (which I had heard of but never actually ordered somewhere before moving to PA) and I assure you we are not missing out because fried dough definitely takes the win.

4. You pronounce Reese wrong.

In New Hampshire everyone (including myself) pronounces it "Rees-EES," but after highly offending some Hershey, Pennsylvania residents and a heated debate I have finally admitted defeat that the true pronunciation is "Rees-IS." But I will always say "Rees-EES" because to me, that is what it is called.

5. You use the word wicked a lot .

I honestly didn't believe it when people told me the word "wicked" was a New England thing. Majority of people understand the meaning but are just shocked by how frequently I use the word. But in the past, people have actually asked me what it meant!

6. When you say it's winter you actually mean it...

I am talking temperatures in single digits or even the negatives, multiple feet of snow that doesn't melt for months and snow storms that resemble blizzards. I have been to parts of the country where people freak out about two inches of snow that melts within 48 hours and are wearing winter coats when it's in the upper to mid 50 degrees.

7. People assume that you don't get cold.

Don't get me wrong, New Hampshire residents have to go through some tough winters but that doesn't mean we don't get cold! Yes, we need to wear a jacket when it's below freezing too! We are just less bothered by snow.

8. A beach day isn't a big deal.

Some parts of New Hampshire are further from the beach than others but overall the drive shouldn't be that bad. After working full time all summer and only making it to the beach about five, I was shocked when people kept telling me how exciting my summer looked via social media. Then I was reminded that for some people the closest beach is hours away and they are lucky if they make it there once.

9. Everyone assumes you ski or snowboard.

Don't get me wrong, A LOT of New Hampshire residents grew up either snowboarding or skiing, but for those of you who didn't (me), everyone is always shocked.

10. You love your state.

People actually make fun of me for how much state pride I have. I love the beautiful colors in the fall to the mountain views in the north and the ocean sunsets that you can't see anywhere else; no matter where I live no state will match up to how gorgeous New Hampshire is.

Related Content

Facebook Comments