National Register of Historic Places in Inyo County

National Register #74000338: Eagle Borax Works NPS Educational Plaque at the Eagle Site
National Register #74000338: Eagle Borax Works Borax Windrow at Eagle Borax Works
20 February 2007

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National Register #74000338
Eagle Borax Works
West Side Road at Eagle Borax Well Road
Death Valley National Park

From a National Park Service educational plaque at the site:

A few structural remains and the nearby borax windrows are the most visible reminders of Eagle Borax Works, the first borax refinery in Death Valley.

Businessman Isador [sic] Daunet founded the Eagle operation on this site, producing borax by late 1882. During its first fifteen months this refinery produced 130 tons of low-grade borax. The inefficiency of the refinery's operation led to near bankruptcy. This, combined with personal setbacks, resulted in Daunet's suicide. In 1884, the Eagle Borax Works closed....

Nearby windrows of borax look much as they did when Eagle Borax Works ceased operation in 1884.

The deposit was discovered by Isidore Daunet in an accidental manner as he and prospector friends tried to cross the valley...

Being young and vigorous they embarked on a direct route over the mountains and into Death Valley, even though it was midsummer. They greatly misjudged their limited water supply, and finding no springs, ultimately had to kill their pack animals and drink their blood.

Daunet and a friend left to seek help, and luckily found some Indians who provided water. They returned to rescue the two survivors (of the five) left in camp.

His friends later moved on, but Daunet thought the white salt crusts they had crossed might have been borates. He persuaded three others to join in prospecting the area, and they located a 109-hectare (270-acre) claim.

Ulexite was common on the playa, along with halite, thenardite, and trona....The men were fortunate in digging a well that intercepted a freshwater artesian strata at the edge of the playa....

Source: Borates Handbook of Deposits, Processing, Properties, & Use by Donald E Garrett, Academic Press, First Edition (July 15, 1998)

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