Keeler is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States. Keeler is located on the east shore of Owens Lake 11.5 miles (19 km) south-southeast of New York Butte, at an elevation of 3602 feet (1098 m). The population was 66 at the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km²), all of it land.
When the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake rendered the pier in nearby Swansea useless by uplifting the shoreline, a new pier was constructed to the south at a community named Hawley. In 1880 a new mill was constructed at Hawley by the Owens Lake Mining and Milling Company for processing ore from the Cerro Gordo Mines in the mountains to the east. A town was laid out by the company agent Julius M. Keeler for whom the town of Hawley was later renamed. The steamship "Bessie Brady" brought ore from Keeler across the lake to the town of Cartago, however in 1882 the Bessie Brady was destroyed by fire. There was a 300 foot wharf at Keeler, and the steamship route cut days off the time for a freight wagon to circle the lake. She carried 700 bullion bars at a time in a three hour crossing. The Carson and Colorado Railroad constructed a narrow gauge railway to Keeler in 1883. The success of the Cerro Gordo mines caused Keeler to boom until silver prices plummeted in the late 1800s. A second boom of zinc mining in the early 1900s brought new life to the town and a tramway was built to bring the ore from Cerro Gordo to Keeler. There were small surges in the mining of silver, lead, zinc, and even limestone, however by the 1950s all mining had ceased. Train service was stopped in 1960 and the tracks were removed in 1961. Water exports from the Owens Valley to the City of Los Angeles in the 1920s led the Owens Lake to eventually dry up, causing alkali dust storms to blow through Keeler, driving many residents away. Dust remediation efforts in the early 21st century reduced this problem, but few residents remain.
As of the census of 2000, there were 66 people, 36 households, and 19 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 54.9 people per square mile (21.2/km²). There were 67 housing units at an average density of 55.7/sq mi (21.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.97% White, 1.52% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. 12.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 36 households out of which 11.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.2% were non-families. 38.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.83 and the average family size was 2.37.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 13.6% under the age of 18, 1.5% from 18 to 24, 10.6% from 25 to 44, 36.4% from 45 to 64, and 37.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 57 years. For every 100 females there were 112.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.1 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $19,625, and the median income for a family was $26,250. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,621. There were no families and 8.5% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.
In the state legislature Keeler is located in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Roy Ashburn, and in the 18th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Maze. Federally, Keeler is located in California's 25th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +7 and is represented by Republican Buck McKeon.