The waters here at Soda Springs have sustained people of many cultures for thousands of years. Nomadic Chemehuevi people and the agrarian Mohave Indians visited these springs during hunting, gathering, and trading trips through the area. Their travels created an Indian trade route across the desert.
In 1776, Father Francisco Garces, guided by Mohave Indian traders, was the first European to enter this area. By the 1860s, the Indian footpath became a wagon road for freight and passengers service between San Bernardino, California, and Prescott, Arizona. Several colorful accounts of travel on the "Mojave Road" fill the historical record, with mixed reviews of the palatability of the water at Soda Springs.
Soda Springs grew to include the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, an evaporative salt works, and a small religious colony by the early 1900s. The Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort opened in the mid-1940s, and remained in operation until 1974. Today the former resort houses California State University Desert Studies Center.
We found at the base of the hills, on the edge of the salt lake, several fine springs, slightly brackish, but not unpalatable. ~ On November 15, 1853, Lt. Robert S. Williamson U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was the first person to describe this welcome oasis.
Bottom right photo caption: The Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort, shown here in the 1950s, was the inspiration of Curtis Howe Springe, a popular radio minister and health promoter.