Zzyzx: The Last Word in the English Language

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The Story Behind Zzyzx the Strangest Place Name in America
Zzyzx is a town in California that was given a bizarre name to be the last word in any dictionary for sure.

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For those in a hurry

  • Zzyzx is an unincorporated community in California, within the Mojave National Preserve.
  • It was formerly a health spa run by Curtis Springer, who claimed to be a doctor and sold dubious products.
  • Springer made up the name Zzyzx to be the last word in the English language.
  • Zzyzx is now the site of the Desert Studies Center, managed by the California State University and the National Park Service.
  • Zzyzx Road is a 4.5-mile-long road that connects Zzyzx to Interstate 15.

How to pronounce Zzyzx

Zzyzx is pronounced “ZYE-zix”, rhyming with “Isaac’s”. It sounds like a sci-fi name, but it has a very earthly origin.

The history of town

Zzyzx was founded by Curtis Howe Springer, a self-proclaimed doctor, preacher, and radio host. He moved to the area in 1944 and filed mining claims for 12,000 acres of land around the natural springs. He built a resort called Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa, where he offered treatments such as hot mineral baths, massages, and herbal teas. He also sold products like Antediluvian Tea, Nerve Food, and Hollywood Pep Cocktail, which he claimed could cure various ailments.

Springer claimed that he invented the name Zzyzx to be the last word in the English language. He said he wanted his resort to be “the last word in health”. He also said that Zzyzx meant “the place where you relax” in the language of the Native Americans who lived there.

However, Springer was not a doctor, nor a preacher, nor a Native American expert. He was a con artist who had no medical training or license. His products were mostly made of Epsom salts and lake water. His resort was built on public land without permission. He was eventually exposed by the authorities and evicted from Zzyzx in 1974. He spent some time in jail and died in Las Vegas in 1985.

The present of Zzyzx

After Springer left, Zzyzx was taken over by the Bureau of Land Management and the California State University. In 1976, they established the Desert Studies Center, a research and education facility that focuses on the Mojave Desert. The center is open to students, researchers, and visitors who want to learn more about the desert environment and history.

Zzyzx is also home to Lake Tuendae, a man-made lake that Springer created by damming the springs. The lake is now a habitat for the endangered Mohave tui chub, a small fish that is native to the area.

Zzyzx Road is still open to the public and leads to Zzyzx from Interstate 15. It is a popular spot for travelers who are curious about the unusual name and want to see the remains of Springer’s resort.

The future of Zzyzx

Zzyzx may not be the last word in the English language, but it is certainly one of the most memorable. It is a reminder of the colorful history of the Mojave Desert and the people who have lived there. It is also a place where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the desert.