Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mojave National Preserve: Zzyzx

1916 - 1944 -- A Period of Abandonment

Soda Lake, Mojave Preserve, Zzyzx
Desert rains often produce some very destructive floodwaters where, only minutes earlier, dust devils danced beneath a blazing sun.

Severe flooding in 1916 not only ended mining here, it also inundated the T&T Railroad grade. Between 1910 and 1920, and again in the 1930s, Broadwell Lake, the Mojave River Sink, Silver Lake and the Amargosa River all experienced floods and washouts, and the railroad never fully recovered.

As mines served by the railroad became depleted, the T&T barely remained solvent. On June 14, 1940 it ceased operation forever. Little remains since its rails were used for scrap iron during World War II. The elevated railroad grade can still be seen, heading north toward Baker.

Over the years, the wooden buildings once built here were salvaged for use elsewhere in the desert. Meanwhile the stone structures crumbled into piles of rubble, overgrown with mesquite.

During these years, a few sportsmen, historians and archaeologists occasionally stopped at Soda Springs and noted the area's unique resources that would someday be recognized as "something special."

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