Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
Desert Gazette --- The Way of Things --- Visit us on Facebook ~
ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments

Mountain Hardware



Mojave River Valley Museum


Zzyzx

1905 - 1916 -- The Soda Works

The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad

Tracks of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, called the T&T, were laid by Francis "Borax" Smith to carry ore, cargo and passengers on a north/south alignment through the desert, reached Soda Springs in November of 1905. This line connected the rich mining districts of Goldfield and Bullfrog ... and towns like Shoshone, Tecopa, Death Valley Junction, and Beatty ... with the outside world. It carried minerals, freight, mining equipment, and passengers between the east-west rail lines at Ludlow and mines scattered along the Amargosa River, and Death Valley.

Just What is Soda?

Included in the loose term "soda" are several chemical compounds: washing soda (sodium carbonate), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and caustic soda (sodium hydrate) are only a few.

The Soda Works

To extract chemicals from sub-surface lake brine, spring water was channeled through ditches and trapped in shallow ponds where it was evaporated by the sun. The resulting "trona" sludge was scraped from the ponds, spread for further drying, and shipped on the T&T for final processing.

The operation, owned by The Pacific Salt and Soda Company, was never financially successful. By 1912, the cost of refining solar-dried sludge into separate, useable chemicals forced the company to abandon the project.

In 1914, another attempt at mining the playa began, but in 1916, flood waters inundated the dry lake for two years, forcing the miners to "pull up stakes." Soda Springs slowly crumbled back into the desolate desert from which it came.

Ditches and dikes from the Soda Works can still be seen on the dry lake bed, but the narrow-gauge rails, mine cars and buildings that were once here are now only memories.

< Previous < · > Next >



soda evaporation pools at Soda Springs/Zzyzx
ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
Burning House
Art Studio
Apple Valley, CA
Mountain Hardware
Your Full Service Hardware Store
Wrightwood, CA
Grizzly Cafe
* Family Owned in Wrightwood *
Great Food - Friendly Folks - Great Service
Country Life Realty
Mountain Homes for Sale
Wrightwood, CA
Custom Search
-


Abraxas Engineering
privacy
Copyright ©Walter Feller. All rights reserved.
Desert Gazette
6700