Monday, September 15, 2008

The Ghost Town Of Dunmovin, California

Highway 395 in California runs from Interstate 15 (just beyond Cajon Pass) up to the Nevada state line. For much of its route, it parallels the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada range and offers jaw-dropping mountain scenery. It is a road I have driven dozens and dozens of times, and is one of my all-time favorite highways. And along it you can see the ghost town of Dunmovin, California. If you like Dunmovin, you can buy it! Take a look at this photo:

Dunmovin is located about three miles north of the Coso Junction rest stop along Highway 395, but getting there is complicated because the rest stop is located on the northbound side of Highway 395 but Dunmovin is on the southbound side; you'll have to drive a little north and then loop back south. When you arrive, you'll find the town site is enclosed behind a fence (or at least it was last time I visited back in 2003). It's a very isolated area, and the chances of anyone knowing (or caring) that you trespassed on the property are remote. However, I preferred to respect the property rights of the owner(s) and instead looked at it from afar. Below is what seems to have been a store, judging from that faded and now illegible sign atop the front:

I've had zero luck in finding out anything about Dunmovin. According to post office records, there was never a post office there nor does the state of California have any record of an incorporated town at this location. It appears on some road maps (especially those from the AAA) but not others. My guess is this location served travelers back when Highway 395 was the main route between Los Angeles and Reno. The neon sign below was probably a welcome sight in the night for weary travelers way back when:

I'm guessing the structures below are some of the guest cabins, although I wouldn't be surprised if some of them also housed workers-----Dunmovin is a long way from any place to live (CalTrans workers at the nearby Coso Junction rest stop live in mobile homes belonging to the state). You can see a mobile home in the photo below, but looking at it through binoculars I saw that it was abandoned (door and windows open, etc.), The whole site seemed 100% deserted, with not even a caretaker on the premises:

I get the feeling this structure may have been a restaurant; it has "the look" of one, especially with those windows and curtains:

What is most puzzling about Dunmovin is its enigmatic web site, which offers no history or background about Dunmovin but does offer several photos of the construction of a mountain home (click the "Now Showing" link at the site) along with hosting server data (click the other links at the site). If anyone knows more about Dunmovin, I'd certainly like to hear from you!