Friday, July 30, 2010

From An Army Post To Zzyzx

What’s in a name? Pretty much everything if you’re the place known as Zzyzx (rhymes with “Isaacs”), Calif. It was originally called Soda Springs because of its natural spring water; in 1944 the area was renamed Zzyzx by Curtis Howe Springer, a radio evangelist who built his broadcast career while on the air at KDKA in Pittsburgh.

It was the remains of an 1860s Army post. Springer decided the property was perfect for a hot springs resort that might attract more followers. So he built a hotel, a church, a radio broadcast studio (his program was carried by hundreds of stations around the world), and even a private airstrip called the “Zyport.”

As for the name Zzyzx, Springer wanted to create a term that would officially be the last, alphabetically, in the English language. For about 30 years, he actually pulled it off, asking listeners to send him donations to help support his special health cure concoctions (which supposedly were nothing more than vegetable juices).

The feds moved in to arrest Springer for alleged misuse of the land and violations of food and drug laws. The government reclaimed the land and Zzyzx went bust. Or did it? Many of the buildings remain, and the small lake is teeming with marsh birds and other wildlife. A consortium of CSU campuses uses it as a desert studies center.

A 2006 horror film, “Zzyzx,” is thought to be officially the “lowest grossing movie of all time.”
From aol.com

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