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Mojave History - Military: Bitter Springs - Fort Irwin

Borax at Death Valley

1880's
Harmony Borax Works, Death Valley
Photo by Burton Frasher

A booming economy flourished as Borax was discovered in and around Death Valley and miners poured into this region hoping for the “mother lode”. Soon, mining related businesses, railroads, and workers began populating the Mojave Desert. New growth within this region developed as tents gave way to building, which grew into small towns. The nearby town of Newberry Springs was first choice for Santa Fe Railroad, when deciding to establish a major crossroads that would bring people and supplies to this region. But the towns people saw a chance to make a profit, raised the prices of property far too high and the Santa Fe Railroad moved over to the sleepy little town that now bears the middle name of William Barstow Strong, the 10th President of the Santa Fe Railroad Company.


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