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Abandoned Places – Oxnard – May 08 - Southern California Abandoned Places [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Abandoned Places – Oxnard – May 08 [Jan. 2nd, 2009|12:47 pm]
Southern California Abandoned Places


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The Wheel Inn - The passing of a legend

On what had been the original routing of US 101 (The 101 Freeway for most southern California residents) where Oxnard overlooks the Santa Clara River, is a California legend. The Wheel Inn was a warm cozy motor hotel catering to travelers of all sorts driving into and out of Los Angeles from the north.

The complex included a full service restaurant, entertainment facilities and store

In 2004, the freeway adjacent to the hotel was rerouted to a limited access bridge and the Wheel lost direct access. In 2006-7, the area across the 101 freeway from the hotel complex was developed into a huge mall complex. The death knell was sounded for the Wheel Inn.

Early in 2005, the restaurant closed down. Soon after, the hotel closed its doors and the site was sold to investors from the Far East.

In fact the ‘investors’ bought most of the properties surrounding the hotel in order to develop the entire area. Then the city of Oxnard put a stop to all changes to the land use.

Buildings were boarded up..

..and the vandals appeared..

Sad to see the buildings in this state of decay considering the history of the place.. The Beach Boys and Don Ho played here.

Elvis Presley stayed in this room when he was shipped back to the states following his service in the US Army

When skateboarders discovered the empty pool on the site, it started attracting enthusiasts from around the world. Fearing lawsuits and further vandalism, the owners surrounded the site in fences.

Now all that thrives there is the beautiful gardens that were cultivated over a 50 year history.

Even the flowers are trying to escape their confinement.

If you’d like to read more about The Wheel Inn, there are a number of articles about this legendary site. To note, sneaking in is not advisable as the site has closed circuit cameras hidden, lies next to active roads and several nearby businesses (including the bowling alley) are still operating.


For the folks of SoCal_Abandoned, this is likely my last article for the foreseeable future. This marks the last of my useable images from my many California expeditions. This means that you guys need to get out and start taking pictures. If anything given the thousands of foreclosed homes and businesses, you can make it a social commentary on what’s going on there. The fact is, your photos matter. Many of the sites I’ve documented here, don’t exist anymore. These images become the living memory of the lives that touched them.

From: chreebomb
2009-01-02 06:51 pm (UTC)
I love that place. When did you take pictures there? And how did you know which room Elvis stayed in? I wish I'd know that when I went. (And I wish I'd known about the cameras, too. LOL)
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-01-02 06:57 pm (UTC)
This was from the trip I took in May. I'd tried gaining others for this, but the timing and schedules just didn't work out well. I've sat on these images for months while getting settled in here in Alabama.

I'm hoping that you and others in the community will take up the baton er.. camera and shoot more of these amazing places.
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[User Picture]From: evilbeard
2009-01-02 08:23 pm (UTC)
I used to go bowling across the street all the time when I was a kid. So sad to see it in this state.

Morphine (a great band) had a song called Thursday which had refernced a motel called The Wagon Wheel and I want to believe they were talking about Oxnard's.

Thanks for the pictures.
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[User Picture]From: thistleharlquin
2009-01-03 12:32 am (UTC)
it was also a very frequented spot for prostitutes in the last few years...and druggies

theres a couple of rooms roomered to be haunted too
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2009-01-12 01:17 am (UTC)
This is sad. And these places should be renovated and turned into low-cost housing alternatives... These motels could be perfect shelters.

Thanks JJ... and thanks for letting me know about this community, which was somehow NOT on my radar.
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-01-12 01:38 am (UTC)
You're very welcome for the point out. I've been trying to direct people here and generate interest. Sadly, I had to move away from the Los Angeles area this summer, but it's still a place I call home. I know the other moderators will enjoy seeing new participants here.
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From: corinn
2009-01-12 01:43 pm (UTC)
*blinks* ...Why didn't I think of that? The housing/shelter thing, I mean. I've seen several abandoned motels, and never thought of that. It's brilliant. I wonder if foundations that run shelters think to look to buy abandoned motels...? It seems like it would be insanely clever, especially if they snag them soon after closure.
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2009-01-12 02:55 pm (UTC)
I think so. Especially the ones with attached diners, these could be so easily transformed - a lot of these people need basic care - shelter and feeding. A motel could be converted easily... even put in institutional bathroom fixtures that the less functional would not easily damage.

The best part is these motels are often a little out of the way, which would relieve communities of the stigma of taking care of 'those people' amongst them.
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From: nicknpas
2009-01-19 06:59 am (UTC)
This particular one is in a very desireable area - right next to the 101 with close-by access to Oxnard, Camarillo, and Ventura. It would be way too expensive for a homeless shelter.
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-01-19 01:10 pm (UTC)
It may end up being their only option. The city won't let the owners redevelop the land. They're also losing millions each month in possible revenue from the multiple buildings they bought up nearby that were vacated by the previous tentants. The mall across the street is only at 65% occupancy so there's no pressure to provide spaces immediately.

Turning the old hotel into a specialized family shelter could provide the owner with a huge charity tax write-off in the short run.
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-01-27 09:49 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! Thanks for the link and the news. Is this being viewed favorably there or is it being seen as a way around the historic site protections on the Wagon Wheel Inn complex? I remember seeing some pretty creative screw jobs from the developers of Southern California.
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[User Picture]From: cahwyguy
2009-01-27 09:53 pm (UTC)
Don't know how it is being viewed -- I just saw the article and thought you would find it of interest (I tend to follow the history of anything on old state highways :-))
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-01-27 10:00 pm (UTC)
Very good then. If you happen to hear anything though, I'd love to know what's being said. Thanks again!
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[User Picture]From: cahwyguy
2009-01-29 10:56 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cahwyguy
2009-04-10 06:21 pm (UTC)
More updates: today's LA Times
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[User Picture]From: jj_maccrimmon
2009-04-10 07:51 pm (UTC)
Cool. Thank you for the news
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