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Lakeshore Inn, an example of missed opportunity, need for improvement in Cal City

Lakeshore Inn shut down in 1993 and has deteriorated since then, a reflection of a dream destroyed in California City
Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-29 21:56:25-04

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — John Kulikoff met his late wife, Judy, at the Lakeshore Inn, a place that is now run down; he hopes it can improve.

  • John and Judy Kulikoff were married within six months after meeting in 1980.
  • The Lakeshore Inn in California City closed down in 1993.
  • Michael Kulikoff says California City has a lot of potential but there is a lot of work to do.


More than 30 years ago, this place was known as the Lakeshore Inn.

A destination that provided pride and gave hope to California City.

I'm your neighborhood reporter Steve Virgen.

Now... it's more of an eyesore...

Another example of a dream destroyed in this desert town.

But the memories still reside here … and maybe, just maybe... there’s still hope.

Virgen: “Do you remember the first words you said to her?”

John: “Hi! How ya doin'?”

John Kulikoff still remembers vividly that simple ice-breaker when he met his late wife, Judy in October of 1980 at the Lakeshore Inn...

Within six months... they were married.

He had been working at the Borax plant, while she was there to check out Cal City as her father was a travel agent and investor.

They moved around before coming back to Cal City to stay in 1983.

“Everything that was around here at the time was beautiful. Everything was kept up. And you look at it now. It’s all … shot!” John Kulikoff said.

The Lakeshore Inn, also known as the Holiday Inn, was a hot spot in its heyday.

Until it fell into disrepair and closed in 1993.

Today... there are junked boats on the property.

The popular watering hole... has long since dried up.

Eddie Borna is one of its owners and has tried to develop projects there.

Most recently, there were plans for an apartment complex.

But there are structural support issues... one of several concerns.

Now... two dogs watch over the area to keep out trouble.


Talking with residents... they say the Lakeshore Inn is a reflection of Cal City.

A recent grand jury report detailed several concerns.

Kulikoff’s sons, Mayor Kelly and councilman Michael Kulikoff are in the thick of it... with the failed special tax and budget shortfalls.

Michael Kulikoff says he remembers getting chased away for trespassing at the Lakeshore Inn as a kid. Now he’s trying to help clean up the town.

“Right now there’s not a whole lot to brag about but there’s a lot of potential that could come back. There’s just a lot of work to do,” Michael Kulikoff said.

“This is an example of what California City is. We have opportunities and then we miss them. We have a lot of potential, but we also have a lack of funding for that potential,” Kelly Kulikoff said.

Virgen: “Do you believe that things can get better.”

John: “Well, they have to get better … in order for this town to survive.”

The Lakeshore Inn property is next door to the Tierra del Sol golf course, which is need of several renovations.

I'm Steve Virgen your Cal City neighborhood reporter.

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