Lebec is one of those places that I call a settlement. That has a pioneer ring to it and suggests a place that was “settled” for a specific activity or purpose, like farming, ranching, fishing, or mining, but never quite matured into a town because there wasn't enough for people to do other than the initial activity. Or maybe the initial activity fell through, from depletion of the resource or some other reason.
For many Western settlements, the railroad was the raison d’etre, and when new routes were laid out or automobile roads bypassed the railroads, the settlements became un-settled. Amboy, Bagdad, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, and Goffs were California railroad tank towns that later became Route 66 communities, but shriveled up when the freeways bypassed Route 66.
Mentryville was a settlement in the Santa Clarita Valley in the early 20th century, based on the oil boom in Southern California. It ultimately belonged to Standard Oil (now Chevron) and produced for over a century, longer than any other oil well in history anywhere in the world. In its last years it was mostly a token maintained by Chevron as a memorial to its past, because when more productive sources were found in the 1930s, Mentryville began to decline. Today it is a historic site.
Allensworth was a settlement in the San Joaquin Valley, founded by freed black former slaves in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It did fine for awhile and there were real institutions, like schools and churches. But the natural resource it needed most went away when the growing agriculture drew down the water table that Allensworth depended on. Gradually the people left, and today Allensworth is also now a historic site.
Santa Nella is a modern settlement. It sprouted up in the middle of nowhere to sell food, gas, and lodging to people traveling along I-5. It's still in the middle of nowhere, still just a settlement, and few people who have any reason to live anywhere else would move to Santa Nella.
Some settlements do survive and thrive if they have enough economic diversity. The Mother Lode towns are good examples. Even after gold was no longer so lucrative, they had ranching and farming, then tourism. I daresay Placerville or Sonora is doing just as well economically today as in 1850. Even the most unappealing town can make a living from tourism if it is near something people want to see, Take Pahrump, for instance, a sad sack of a town that happens to be halfway between Las Vegas and Death Valley