Zzyzx is now the site of a research center. Wikimedia Commons

The old resort town of Zzyzx

There’s a town in the Mojave Desert named Zzyzx that was founded by a legendary huckster. Curtis Howe Springer was an Alabama-born radio evangelist and medical quackery salesman who grew restless during his retirement in Depression-era Los Angeles.

He decided to create a retreat center dedicated to healthy living and filed a mining claim on 20 square miles in the Mojave Desert about 4 miles off Interstate 15. A compound was built that included a dining hall, church, library, and accommodations for more than 100 guests. It was popular.

Springer operated the resort for 30 years until it was shut down in 1974 for unauthorized use of the land. Today, Zzyzx (pronounced zye-zix) has been repurposed as the site of the Desert Studies Center, a Cal State field station dedicated to the study of desert ecology — or, real science.

Titan Magazine | KCET

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