Go West, Young Man

David Hartwell and Bill Ferehawk, 2018

Established in 1958 and developed in the 1960’s, Salton City was planned as a large resort community with an infrastructure capable of supporting 40,000 residents. Slated to be the next Palm Springs, the “Miracle in the Desert” succumbed to agricultural pollution. By 1970, most of the lake’s fish had died. Overgrown with algae, hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria thrived, poisoning and starving of oxygen its inhabitants. The birds died shortly thereafter and so did the town.


Garage 79
Warner Springs
San Diego County, California
Sea Port Ave
Salton City
Imperial County, California
Salton Bay Drive and Hilo Ave
Salton City
Imperial County, California
Salton City
Imperial County, California
Salton City
Imperial County, California
Vander Veer Road and West Access Road
North Shore Beach and Yacht Club
Mecca, Riverside County, California
Sea View Drive and Marina Drive 
North Shore Beach and Yacht Club
Mecca, Riverside County, California

Opposite side of the lake, The North Shore Beach and Yacht Club was developed in 1959 and would become California’s largest marina. It was designed by Swiss-born architect Albert Frey, a contemporary and friend of Richard Neutra. The Beach Boys, Jerry Lewis and the Marx Brothers all docked boats there. Ever increasing salinity from agricultural runoff and fluctuating water levels culminated in a major flood in 1981. By 1984, it would be completely closed.

The photographs featured here, are part of the photo essay Go West, Young Man. Hartwell and Ferehawk explore America’s expansion westward, American exceptionalism, and the concept of Manifest Destiny.

“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”

— Horace Greeley.
July 13, 1865. New York Tribune.

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