Harmony Borax Works

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Harmony Borax Works
Furnace Creek Harmony Borax Works 8-10-2012 9-07-04.JPG
Harmony Borax Works is located in California
Harmony Borax Works
Harmony Borax Works is located in the United States
Harmony Borax Works
Nearest cityStovepipe Wells, California
Coordinates36°28′48″N 116°52′24.5″W / 36.48000°N 116.873472°W / 36.48000; -116.873472Coordinates: 36°28′48″N 116°52′24.5″W / 36.48000°N 116.873472°W / 36.48000; -116.873472
NRHP reference #74000339
CHISL #773[1]
Added to NRHPDecember 31, 1974[2]

The Harmony Borax Works is located in Death Valley at Furnace Creek Springs, then called Greenland. It is now located within Death Valley National Park in Inyo County, California. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Origin and Twenty-mule teams[edit]

A twenty-mule team wagon.

After discovery of Borax deposits here by Aaron and Rosie Winters in 1881, business associates William Tell Coleman and Francis Marion Smith subsequently obtained claims to these deposits, opening the way for "large-scale" borax mining in Death Valley.[3] The Harmony operation became famous through the use, from 1883 to 1889, of large Twenty-mule teams and double wagons which hauled borax the long overland route to the closest railroad in Mojave, California.[4]

During the summer months, when it was too hot to crystallize borax in Death Valley, a smaller borax mining operation shifted to his Amargosa Borax Plant in Amargosa, near the present community of Tecopa, California. The Harmony Works remained under Coleman's operation until 1888, when his business collapsed.[5]

Frank M. "Borax" Smith[edit]

William Coleman's original holdings in the works were subsequently acquired by Frank M. "Borax" Smith in 1890, to become the Pacific Coast Borax Company with the 20 Mule Team Borax brand. Activity at Harmony Borax Works ceased with the development of the richer Colemanite borax deposits at Borate in the Calico Mountains, where they continued until 1907.[6]

The Harmony Borax Works was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1974. They are part of the National Park Service historical site preservation program in Death Valley National Park.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Old Harmony Borax Works". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  3. ^ Hildebrand, GH. (1982) Borax Pioneer: Francis Marion Smith. San Diego: Howell-North Books. p 27 ISBN 0-8310-7148-6
  4. ^ http://www.nps.gov/deva/historyculture/twenty-mule-teams.htm . accessed 6/22/2010 - NPS: Twenty Mule Teams
  5. ^ http://www.nps.gov/deva/historyculture/harmony.htm . accessed 6/22/2010 - NPS: Harmony Works
  6. ^ "Harmony Borax Works". List of Classified Structures. National Park Service. 2008-11-30. Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
  7. ^ F.R. Holland, Jr. (June 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Harmony Borax Works" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) Photo (1971) and map

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]