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Mojave National Preserve: History of Soda Springs & Zzyzx

1870 - 1905 -- Soda Station

    Soda Springs existed as a rest stop and refuge for eastbound and westbound travelers on the Mojave Road for about 30 years. Its name was changed temporarily to "Shenandoah Camp" in 1885 but was soon named "Soda Station" bit its operator, George Hertzel. He built the outpost into a trading post, commonly called a "way station." Similar to rest stops along modern freeways, Hertzel's way station offered welcome relief to travelers crossing the desert.

    Looking across Soda Lake to Devil's Playground and Kelso Dunes

    To make the springs more usable, Hertzel lined a pool with rocks. Water at Soda Springs reaches the surface at a constant 76F, providing a refreshing dip in summer and welcome warmth during the winter.

    In 1900, Frank and Sarah Riggs lived at Soda Station, which they had renamed "Hertzel's Mill Site." The Riggs ran a mill in which steel balls pulverized ores for processing. Unfortunately, the ores from this mountain contain very few valuable minerals, and the claim was abandoned.
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