- Travel and Places
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
On our travels driving through the Mojave Desert, we saw a very interesting road sign. We heard of it but weren't really sure what ZZYZX was all about. It appeared to be nothing, in the middle of nowhere. With a name like that we were too curious to give up. Down a long desert road lined with tall funny looking palm trees we found some interesting things.
When we got home we did some research.
The land there was once a place where the Mohave Indians traveled to get water and salt from the natural mineral mines. Nowadays it is mostly evaporated and you can see the salt that sits on the sand. Old Indian art can bee seen etched in some of the mountains and rocks. Remnants from mine excavation and the old railroad that went through still exist. Old buildings sit at the very end of the road.
In the 1860s the government took over the land to protect it from Indians getting the water and using the minerals there. It was named Camp Soda Springs by the soldiers who stood guard. Miners were hired to excavate the lakes minerals until it became dry.
In 1944, Curtis Howe Springer, a Los Angeles radio broadcaster, acquired the land. He built a health spa complete with a castle, pool, ranch and visitor accommodations. He made his own medications from the minerals and sold them to travelers on the highway, and around the world. His medications were said to cure various ailments... such as baldness,cancer, etc. He also bottled and sold healing water from the reserves.The ranch had exotic animals from around the world to draw travelers in.
He chose the name ZZYZX, saying it was the last word in the dictionary. His castle was named The Boulevard of Dreams.
Springer ended up with a huge congregation, and spoke on his radio station of his ministry and beliefs. He got quite a following, especially the sick and elderly. He convinced people of the healing powers of his medications. In turn he generated a huge revenue.
In 1974 the land was reclaimed by the US government and Springer was charged with fraud for violating FDA regulations.