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Report - Zzyzx Abandoned Health Spa and Mineral Springs

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by Jim Sullivan, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Jim Sullivan

    Jim Sullivan 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Hey Guys,

    There's a weird freeway exit near Baker, CA called Zzyzx Road. I've passed it many times over the years, usually when driving from LA to Vegas and back, and always wondered where it led. So at the end of my epic urbex road trip across a few of the western states, I made Zzyzx Road my final stop.

    The rough road led along a beautiful salt-crusted dry lake bed.

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    Eventually I got to an oasis with palm trees.

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    And street signs for the unpaved roads

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    Back in the day, the place was known as Soda Springs because of a natural spring with sodium-rich water. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was an important stop for people making the treacherous journey across the Mojave Desert. At various points in time, the place was home to a military outpost, a railroad depot, and an ore mill.

    Near the end of World War II, Curtis H Springer, a radio evangelist from Los Angeles, filed mining claims on the public lands at Soda Springs.

    Springer was a charlatan who called himself "last of the old-time medicine men" and falsely claimed to be a doctor. He and his wife created a religion-oriented health resort called Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa. The word "Zzyzx" was thought up by Springer as a gimmick to draw attention to his health spa. He said Zzyzx was "the last word in the English language".

    He developed the site quite a bit, adding a sixty-room hotel, which he called The Castle

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    a spa with mineral baths,

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    and a pond with a fountain.

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    Springer was a complete scoundrel who sold folk remedies, making grandiose false claims about their curative abilities. At Zzyzx he created fake hot springs, using a boiler to heat the spring water and passing it off as genuine to his guests/patients.

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    In 1974 Springer's dishonesty began to catch up with him. The Bureau of Land Management realized he had made false mining claims in order to use the land and evicted him. Later he faced legal trouble for making false claims about the medicinal value of the products he sold.


    In 1976 the Bureau of Land Management established the Desert Studies Center at Soda Springs. It is managed by a consortium of California State University campuses and used as a field research facility. Some of the structures from Zzyzx Health Spa were repurpose.

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    Others were left abandoned.

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    It was a pretty fun place to explore. If you want to see more pics and info, go here: http://www.placesthatwere.com/2016/02/a-scoundrels-legacy-zzyzx-road-and.html

    I hope you all enjoyed my pics. If any of you are in the LA area and want to explore together, feel free to hit me up. I also want to plan another cross-country urbex road trip. The last one I took was in Oct-Nov and lasted a whole month. It was epic. I had such a blast and explored so many incredible places, but didn't get to meet up with as many explorers as I would have liked.

    Jim
     

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  2. obscurity

    obscurity Flaxenation of the G!!!
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    Im guessing this is where Stonesour got the name for their song then! thanks for sharing :thumb
     
  3. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Interesting report, enjoyed the history and pics :thumb
     
  4. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Team Weasel
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    I was just about to say that!!

    Nice set of pics. Hoping to see more places from your road trips :thumb
     
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  5. pirate

    pirate Rum Swigger
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    Interesting......looks like you could turn up with a generator and move in
     
  6. KirstyM

    KirstyM 28DL Full Member
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    Great pics!!
     
  7. Gabe

    Gabe 28DL Regular User
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    I drove past that turning nearly 10 years ago and took a picture of that sign.

    Nice
     
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  8. Jim Sullivan

    Jim Sullivan 28DL Full Member
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    Thank you all! I hadn't ever heard of that song until now. I'll have to google it.
     
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  9. pauln

    pauln too old to be reckless
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    Genuinely interesting. Thanks for sharing.
     
    Jim Sullivan likes this.
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