One of the earlier success stories around the Salton Sea was the Salton Bay Yacht Club located in Salton City. It was a stunning building that echoed the optimism surrounding the sea in its heyday. Like all of the other tourist attractions it was eventually abandoned and sat vacant for years before eventually being demolished in 2000.
I drove down the western side of the Salton Sea to check out the abandoned location in December 2014 to see what it looked like today. I knew the building was long gone, but I was curious if any clues remained.
I arrived at the intersection of Marina and Yacht Club Drive in Salton City and was impressed by what once was. Two double-laned streets divided by a continuous row of palm trees still leads directly to the shoreline where the Yacht Club would have been revealed as you turned around the slight bend. Most (if not all) of those palm trees are dead now.
The archival shots above really sell what a place this was in its prime.
Today, you pull up to what would have been the parking lot, where the only clues that something used to be there are the curbs surrounding the dead trees. All traces of the building were removed when it was demolished, however the most startling thing is how much the sea has receded from where the Salton Bay Yacht Club once stood.
The Salton Sea has dropped several feet since my last visit in 2010, however if you look at this archival picture of the sea and the abandoned Yacht Club from the 1990s (seen below) the transition is pretty shocking. It's actually hard to wrap your head around how it went from a luxurious hangout to this.
Salton City has actually seen growth throughout the 2000s due to the rising housing costs in Southern California. The population has grown from around 1000 to 3700 in the last decade. To be honest, my impression of Salton City wasn't that it was abandoned, more so, there was just lots of vacant space between the buildings that were in use. The fire station was a prime example. It's just a little building sitting all by its lonesome in the middle of the desert.
|Looking towards the parking lot, standing where the Yacht Club was.