Stephen “Desert Steve” Ragsdale founded the town of Desert Center in 1921 after having been Out in the middle of nowhere, this town was a watering hole for those traveling between Phoenix and California, giving the weary travelers some much-needed respite and shade. In the 1940s when Ragsdale’s children needed schooling, he built up Desert Center School which fell into complete disrepair after it shut down in 1983. Today, the few children who remain are bused 120 miles round trip to the closest school in Blythe, California.
Desert Center School. Nothing more thrilling than trespassing in a state where a high percentage of landowners are armed with shotguns. The auditorium. A view of the stage. The remains of one of the two pianos that used to stand tall – due to the elements or vandals, who knows. Formerly known as piano keys. The day the music died. The remains of ceiling paint, thoroughly consumed by mold. Walls melting in the desert heat. You can hear the rats scurrying through the air ducts, even from across the parking lot. Random awesome farming equipment rusted into the ground outside. A man, a toothpick and his tractor. Hauntingly, beautifully forgotten.
Coming up soon – the abandoned homes of Desert Center.