Zzyzx, California

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Zzyzx, California
unincorporated community
Freeway exit sign to Zzyzx Road off Interstate 15
Zzyzx, California is located in California
Zzyzx, California
Location of Zzyzx in California
Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 116°6′15″W / 35.14306°N 116.10417°W / 35.14306; -116.10417Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 116°6′15″W / 35.14306°N 116.10417°W / 35.14306; -116.10417
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia
CountySan Bernardino
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code92309
Area code(s)760
GNIS feature ID1662336
 
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Zzyzx, California
unincorporated community
Freeway exit sign to Zzyzx Road off Interstate 15
Zzyzx, California is located in California
Zzyzx, California
Location of Zzyzx in California
Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 116°6′15″W / 35.14306°N 116.10417°W / 35.14306; -116.10417Coordinates: 35°8′35″N 116°6′15″W / 35.14306°N 116.10417°W / 35.14306; -116.10417
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia
CountySan Bernardino
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code92309
Area code(s)760
GNIS feature ID1662336

Zzyzx /ˈzzɨks/, formerly Camp Soda and Soda Springs, is an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, California, United States. It is the former site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa[1] and now the site of the Desert Studies Center. The site is also the location of Lake Tuendae, originally part of the spa, and now a refuge habitat of the endangered Mohave tui chub.

Zzyzx Road is a 4.5-mile-long (7.2 km), part paved and part dirt, rural collector road in the Mojave Desert. It runs from Interstate 15 generally south to the Zzyzx settlement.

The settlement is in area codes 442 and 760 and ZIP code 92309. The nearest town is Baker, California, 7 miles (11 km) north on I-15. Las Vegas, Nevada, is the nearest major city, about 100 miles (160 km) northeast.

History[edit]

Soda Springs, a natural spring, has long seen human activity. The area was a prehistoric quarry site, and projectile points and rock art can be found in the area. The Mojave Road ran past the spring, as did the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad. Remnants of a wagon road stop and railroad artifacts are readily seen. Evaporative salt mining and mill sites can be found here as well.

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad railbed crossing Soda Lake at Zzyzx

The made-up name Zzyzx was given to the area in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer, claiming it to be the last word in the English language. He established the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944 at the spot, which was federal land, after filing mining claims for 12,000 acres (49 km2) surrounding the springs. He used the springs to bottle his water and provide drinks for travelers through the hot desert. Springer also imported animals from around the country to attract more families to visit his ranch. He used Zzyzx until 1974, when he was arrested by the United States Marshals for misuse of the land as well as alleged violations of food and drug laws,[citation needed] and the land was reclaimed by the government.

Since 1976, the Bureau of Land Management has allowed California State University to manage the land in and around Zzyzx. A consortium of CSU campuses use it as their Desert Studies Center.

Lexicography[edit]

Word Ways magazine verified the source of the lexicography as an undated San Bernardino County map published by the Automobile Club of Southern California. The magazine characterized Zzyzx Springs as "a hydrologic feature and a privately owned spa catering to the senior citizen, about 8.5 mi (13.7 km) south of Baker on the western edge of Soda Dry Lake, off the abandoned right-of-way of the old Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad."

Zzyzx was approved as a place name by the United States Board on Geographic Names on June 14, 1984. As is the case with the road, Zzyzx, California, is the USBGN's lexicographically greatest (alphabetically last, at least in English alphabetical order) place name.[2]

Popular culture[edit]

Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx Springs
Vermilion Flycatcher, summer resident (breeds) at the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bishop, Greg; Oesterle, Joe; Marinacci, Mike and Moran, Mark (2006). "A Utopia Spelled Z, Z, Y, Z, X". Weird California. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-4027-3384-0. 
  2. ^ GNIS Search Results

External links[edit]

Media related to Zzyzx, California at Wikimedia Commons