Welcome to Zzyzx!

Did you know that there’s a “town” in California called Zzyzx? I say “town” because the place was originally built on federal land that was squatted on in 1944 by a guy called Curtis Howe Springer. Springer gave the town its unique name, then built the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa. Taking advantage of the mineral waters at nearby Soda Springs, Springer built the resort and bottled the waters for tourists passing through. When that didn’t bring in the kind of money he wanted, Springer started importing animals from all over the world – hoping the zoo would make people stop by.

For some reason, the Feds let this go on for 30 years. In 1974 U.S. Marshalls finally arrested Springer for misusing federal lands, as well as for food and drug violations. In 1976, the Bureau of Land Management allowed California State University to use the site, and several California colleges established a “Desert Studies Center” there. So it’s not really a “town” in the usual sense, although people *do* live there year ’round.

Read more about Zzyzx at Wikipedia.

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