This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2019)
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1662336|
Zzyzx (// ZY-ziks), formerly Soda Springs, is an unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, California, within the boundaries of the Mojave National Preserve, managed by the National Park Service (NPS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, as public land. It is the former site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa and now the site of the Desert Studies Center. The site is also the location of Lake Tuendae, originally part of the spa, and now a refuge habitat of the endangered Mohave tui chub.
Soda Springs, a natural spring, has long seen human activity. The area was a prehistoric quarry site, and projectile points and rock art can be found in the area. The Mojave Road ran past the spring which was guarded by the Hancock Redoubt in 1860, during the Bitter Spring Expedition and by Camp Soda Springs, garrisoned by the U.S. Army from 1867 to 1870. Later Soda Springs was the name of the station of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad that passed there. Remnants of a wagon road stop and railroad artifacts are readily seen. Evaporative salt mining and mill sites can be found here as well.
Curtis Howe Springer made up the name Zzyzx and gave it to the area in 1944, claiming it to be the last word in the English language. He established the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa in 1944 at the spot, which was federal land, after filing mining claims for 12,000 acres (4,900 ha) surrounding the springs. He used the springs to bottle his water and provide drinks for travelers through the hot desert. Springer also imported animals from around the country to attract more families to visit his ranch. He used Zzyzx until 1974 when the land was reclaimed by the government.
In 1976, the Bureau of Land Management and the California State University agreed to cooperatively manage the land in and around Zzyzx, and establish the CSU Desert Studies Center. In 1994, the United States Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act, establishing the Mojave National Preserve on the former BLM land, and further formalized the partnership between the National Park Service and the California State University Desert Studies Center.
The name appeared as "Zzyzx Springs" in Dmitri Borgmann's 1967 book Beyond Language. In 1977 Borgman noted his source as being "an old, undated map of San Bernardino County published by the Automobile Club of Southern California" and repeated his description of the settlement as being "a hydrologic feature and privately owned spa in San Bernardino County, California, about 8.5 miles south of Baker, on the western edge of Soda Dry Lake, off the abandoned right-of-way of the old Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad." After Borgmann's book, the 1973 Hammond Ambassador World Atlas began to show the place, labeling it as "Zzyzx" without the "Springs"; the 1976 Rand-McNally Commercial Atlas and Marketing Guide followed suit.
Zzyzx as a settlement, and Zzyzx Spring as a water feature, were approved as a place name by the United States Board on Geographic Names on June 14, 1984. As is the case with the road, Zzyzx, California, is the USBGN's lexicographically greatest (alphabetically last, at least in Latin alphabetical order) place name.
In popular culture
- Bishop, Greg; Oesterle, Joe; Marinucci, Mike & Moran, Mark (2006). "A Utopia Spelled Z, Z, Y, Z, X". Weird California. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-4027-3384-0.
- PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish 1618426583 Pete Mason - 2009 PA: What's up with ZZYZX Rd. on the way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas? ZZYZX: In 1944 Curtis Howe Springer decided to just claim some land in the desert to create a health spa. He called it Zzyzx so he could have the last word in the ..."
- Rhymes or Porcupines 1476257698 Zzyzx Rd Sign, 1997. Two syllables make up this most unusual word. One of the strangest ... you've ever heard. The first part is Zi, the second is Zicks Together they form the name ... Zzyzx! Zzyzx Road leads to Tork's ... "
- "Week of April 8, 1974". Mr Pop History. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- Borgmann, Dmitri A. (February 1977). "At the Outer Limits". Word Ways. Morristown, NJ: A. Ross Eckler. 10 (2): 120. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- Eckler, A. Ross (February 1996). "Zzyzx". Word Ways. Morristown, NJ: A. Ross Eckler. 29 (1): 22–24. ISSN 0043-7980. Retrieved December 12, 2015. Text also in"Zzyzx". Archived from the original on February 21, 2001. Retrieved December 12, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- Search for "Zzz" and "Zzy" at http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/ . Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- "Welcome to Zzyzx, California -- Population: 1". KQED. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
- Cahn, Lauren. "The Most Difficult-to-Pronounce Town in Every Single State". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
- "The Narrows' rich, complex". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zzyzx, California.|
- USGS GNIS entries:
- Zzyzx photos and historical information
- Center for Land Use Interpretation site page with directions, details, photos, and map link
- Miech, Rob (June 2018). "Gets Your Kicks At Zzyzx". Vegas Seven (online ed.). Las Vegas, Nevada. Archived from the original on August 22, 2018. — also part 2 and part 3