Wikipedia, "The town was developed in the 1950s and established in 1958 primarily by M. Penn Phillips and the Holly Sugar Corporation as a resort community on the Salton Sea." But it was isolated and there were few local employment opportunities, leading to minimal development. Could the fact that the summer temperature was over 100 deg F be part of the story? (Of course, Palm Springs is hot, too, but it is higher altitude and close to mountains, and has a more sophisticated aura to it.).
photographs of Bombay Beach.
The day my daughter and I visited Salton City, storms had recently passed, so the sky had more texture than usual with high clouds. I used a Fuji X-E1 camera with a polarizing filter to darken the sky. I processed the Fuji raw files with PhotoNinja software and converted to monochrome with their red or orange filter emulations. On some frames, I slid the blue wavelengths slider to the left to create an almost black sky. Also, I cropped square as per the days when I used a Rolleiflex camera, with its 6×6 frame. On my next trip there, I will take my 4×5" camera and do real photography with Tri-X film.