High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Trona
From the transport of borax to the refinement of potash the story of Trona Goes on.
  Trona says that they are the gateway to Death Valley.  How can that be when Ridgecrest already claims the title!!!???

  We played a lot of football in Trona and most times we won.  In the years I came thru High School we did pretty well everywhere.  I remember the Trona Pools which are really Valley Wells.  I remember the smells emanating from that plant you see in the top pictures.  It was quite a thriving town in the 40's and 50's.  I understand that now it has been more or less reduced to a small nucleus of homes close to the plant.  Most of the businesses are also closed as I understand it.  There are some websites that tell the story about Trona today. 
Trona on line   , The Searles Valley Historical Society,   and  The Trona Gem Club  and also Doug Pollys Up in Flames.
Trona in the beginning (this view approx 1918 or 1919)  photo courtesy of John Culp
Some items that needed to be disposed of but could not be processed during this project are microwaves, TVs, computers and tires. On Monday, Sept 29th, San Bernardino County sent a Semi to pick up all the tires that was collected and held at the Argus Fire Station.
All other mentioned items can be disposed of by delivering them to the transfer station (dump) on Nov. 1st.


Special thanks go to the people who manned the volunteer registration table at the CSC Senior Center as well as those who acted as street captains in Argus, Pioneer Point, Trona and Westend; working tirelessly throughout the day to keep the project working smoothly.

The generosity of every business and organization in our valley made our job easier:

Ice, water, trash bags and other donations too numerous to mention came from the Trona Texaco, Searles Domestic Water Company,
Ace-Co Generation, Trona Lions Club, and the Rite Value.

Heavy equipment and trucks came from Valley Sand and Gravel, Caraway Construction, Searles Domestic Water Company and the Barker Brothers

Last, but not least porta-potties and work gloves were donated by Arzell Hale-IMC as well as the over 200 delicious lunches that were served following the clean up.


Most of all, we owe heart felt thanks to over 200 volunteers who worked themselves into the ground making their community a better place to live. The side streets of Trona, Argus, Pioneer Point and Westend as well as Trona Rd had people busily working. The Blooming Sands Garden Club, The Girl Scouts, the 4-H Club, Cheer Leaders all were represented along with the churches and even the Trona Branch Library.
On Saturday, Sept. 27, Trona hosted a community cleanup, in which an estimated total of 160 tons of trash was collected and hauled away through the efforts of the local businesses and volunteers.
Trona Community Cleanup Successful

Once again, a community cleanup project, spear-headed by Connie Courto of TronaCare and the Trona CSC proved to be another resounding success.
San Bernardino County was well represented by Code Enforcement personnel, Hugh Oram, Arnie Guillermo, David Jorgenson, Gabe Arroyo who worked along side the volunteers of Trona.

Besides10 filled rolloffs; there was a minimum of 50 truckloads delivered to the transfer station (dump). That gives us a rough estimate of 160 tons of trash that was removed Sept. 27 from Trona.

At the Trona Fire Station, Searles Valley Fire Department Fire Fighters,
Doris VanHorn and Angela Harrington collected household hazard waste material. Before 10:00 A.M. they had collected two 55 gal. drums of oil, one of latex paints, 20 car batteries and many other items.
Photo courtesy of Trona On Line
Photo courtesy of Trona On Line
People, who have to work on Sat, like Mel Gonzales and Davetta Langham from the Kut and Kurl Beauty Salon on Trona Road did their share by working on Friday evening. They cleaned the area around the Kut and Kurl as well as the other two businesses and on both sides of Trona Rd. Then both ladies cleaned on their own respective streets before leaving for work on Saturday. All of them were Trona people to the bone

Connie Courto spoke of her volunteers; "The reason this clean up is so successful is the Volunteers (People) of Trona pulling together, I do not believe you will find another small town like ours with so many people that want to help bring their town back like it used to be."

Not one to rest on her laurels, Connie is obviously looking ahead. Turning to me she said, "I have at least three projects,
  I would like to see cleaned up before our home coming parade."

It was at this point I went home!
Bonnie Fairchild and Connie Hale volunteering helping clean up Trona..
This is Arzell Hale (IMC) helping with Clean up
Photo courtesy of Trona On Line
Photo courtesy of Trona On Line
Photo courtesy of Trona On Line
Photo by Ben Yeakey
Pctures below courtesy of Trona Care
Before
After
  A once thriving town, Trona is now a mixed bag of well cared for residences mixed with those having been abandoned.  There is an Action organization which is volunteering its time and labor to clean up Trona and preserve and protect the abandoned buildings and homes.  As you can see there is much need for this care.  For more info about this program and how its doing visit the Trona Care website. 
 
 
Here's whats happening to
clean up and reclaim Trona!!!
 
Adventures and experieces of Tronites from before
   While cruising this website I especially enjoyed (don't know if that is the right word) the section on the bugs in the desert.  I will never forget the scorpions or vinagaroons.... I can't stand them to this day.  Mom and Dad built a new home for us when I was 5 and it was several blocks out in the desert from the rest of the town in Argus and believe me, we were infested with scorpions and vinagaroons.....  even a few rattlesnakes.... I can remember one being in our house even.  We also had an infestation of what we called "Army Worms".  I don't know what they were, but one year, we had an outbreak of them in our area and it appeared that the land was alive with them.  The ground simple seemed to be moving when you looked out into the desert and they approached our house like a horde.  Not hundreds of them, millions of them.  They crawled up the house wall, on the car tires and every single sage brush there was.  They ate and nibbled every green leaf of the sage brush they could.  They had a spiney spike at their back end and my sister and I would pick them up by the spine and they would curl around to see who had a hold of them.  They would often spit out green leafy bile....  yuck, but it was fun.  Some were very tiny and others were bigger than a finger.  They were around for probably a week and came and went like a horde of grasshoppers..... it was weird.
   Amazing what your mind stores away for memories isn't it....    Now it makes me want to go see if I can find any info about "Army Worms" on the internet.....

 
Glenna
Slenning
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  A trip with cat fight and welcome to hell!!!

   I'm trying to think how long ago it was, I moved down to San Diego from the San Gabriel Valley 20 years ago so I'd imagine it was around then.

   I had bought an old Jeep M38A1 and ended up selling it to a buddy. Another buddy had a CJ5. 5 of us, including my buddy's son, went off in these vehicles from LA up 395. At the first Trona road intersection we pulled off the road and spent the night. Next morning we headed to Trona with the idea of going into Death Valley.

   We hit Trona about 8 am and notice a restaurant (which I think is now closed) on the right hand side of the road. We go in. We wait for service. We notice a couple of older gentlemen who probably come in for coffee every morning. Other than those guys we're the only other customers. We order food off the menu. I order a glass of milk.

    3 plates of food come out. Then we see the cook walking his bike from the kitchen through the restaurant  and out the front door. When we ask the waitress about this it's because he's gotta go down the street to get milk. So half the people are eating and the other half are sitting there.

    Then these two very nice looking young ladies come in and sit at a table not far from us. Of course   we're looking at them but their conversation broils into an argument about business. And the business seemed to be sex. This literally almost got into a hair-pulling dragdown fight.

   Meanwhile we're waiting for the milk to arrive plus the rest of the breakfast.

   Which it eventually did. It was all nice and warm, never mind there was a half hour separation in there. And we eventually made our way up Golar Wash and past Striped Butte and Ube Hebe crater and down into Salinas Valley.

   The thing I remember is the two guys drinking coffee. Watching a fight like this made their day, and you have to wonder how many times it happens and if that isn't why they choose their coffee spot.

   Another interesting thing on that trip was on the way in, someone had spray painted 'Welcome to Hell' on the rocks beside the road.


        Steve Grabhorn
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