People driving on Interstate 15, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for the first time, may well think they have read the road sign to a byway incorrectly ‘Zzyzx’ as they speed past. However Zzyzx is the correct spelling of this enigmatic place set in the Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County, California near the Nevada border. It was previously the site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort
A colourful character, Curtis Howe Springer (1896 -1985) settled on this Soda Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert in 1944. Springer constructed a spa with mineral pools, a private airstrip nicknamed ‘Zyport’ a number of buildings included a church and a castle. He wanted to give the place a name with no proper vowels that was so relaxing that it sounded like sleep, and so named this place "Zzyzx".
He broadcasted daily radio station lectures promoting the health benefits of his potions of vegetable juices, spa facilities and his folksy philosophy. In 1974 Springer was arrested for unauthorized use of federal land and alleged violations of food and drug laws. He spent a short time in prison and his spa was confiscated. The spa area is now the site of the California State University (CSU), Desert Studies Center, field station. Zzyzx, 1999
Location: Zzyzx, California
Photographer: Richard Keith Wolff