It’s just shy of 10:00 in the morning now and we still have about 3 hours to kill.
After discovering Sky Dive Perris we head west, back toward Lake Elsinore. I had read about a nearby abandoned town and today gave us the perfect excuse to go on a wild ghost hunt.
On our way through the scenic back roads’ neighborhoods, we notice a wake of buzzards with their wings spread along the side of the road. Of course, by the time we can capture this photo they bring their wings in!
Our first approach to Terra Cotta is from Nichols Road off of Interstate 15.
The only access is a rutted dirt road.
With our little Scion IQ we chicken out from driving further.
We then decide to approach this same location from Lakeshore Drive and Terra Cotta Road. Guess what? Terra Cotta Road ends and turns into
But this time we plow through the rough road anyway, very carefully I might add, and I take a few pics.
Now, here’s the story behind this abandoned location:
Established in 1887, Terra Cotta was a mining town a few miles northwest of Lake Elsinore. In 1885 John D. Hoff discovered a vein of coal and a supply of clay in this Warm Springs neighborhood leading to his vision of producing terra cotta tile products, such as ceramic sewer and water pipes, using the coal to fuel the kilns.
Unfortunately, not long after the town was christened and the first factory built, Hoffman and his backers found out that both the coal and clay deposits were inferior in quality. By 1892 all mining was permanently suspended by Hoff’s Southern California Coal and Clay Company, although the mines were used intermittently during the early 1900s by other companies. In 1940 the Pacific Clay Products Company folded and the town of Terra Cotta was abandoned. (ghost towns.com and pe.com, The Press Enterprise)
All that remains today is the location and the old grid of dirt streets hidden in the sagebrush.
So, from Lakeshore Drive we bounce along the dirt road all the way back to Nichols Road. Since Temescal Canyon Road, leading to Corona and Trader Joe’s, is just off of Nichols, we head for Glen Ivy RV Park along the way. (Glen Ivy is a place we considered for our winter stay, but we never heard back from them after several attempts. On our way to Trader Joe’s one day, we drove right by the RV Park. We didn’t stop in, saving that adventure for another day. Well, today is now that day.)
Glen Ivy RV Park is large and includes lots of amenities, such as a pool, playground, restaurant, bar, and basketball court. It lacks, however, the natural beauty of Lake Elsinore Marina with the lake, trees, and surrounding mountains. The monthly rates are also higher.
We register and drive around the island areas, each distinguished by its own color.
I have to stop and take these pictures before we leave:
I have fond memories of the bookmobile during my summers in elementary school!