National Register of Historic Places in Inyo County

National Register #74000339: Harmony Borax Works Harmony Borax Works Ruin
National Register #74000339: Harmony Borax Works Harmony Borax Works 20-Mule Wagons
National Register #74000339: Harmony Borax Works View from Harmony Borax Works
20 February 2007

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National Register #74000339
Harmony Borax Works
State Route 190 (Milepost 109.1)
Death Valley National Park

Aaron Winters was a poor homesteader living with his frail wife in a cave and one-room stone house with a tule-reed roof in nearby Ash Meadows. They lived much like the area's Piute Indians, eating mesquite beans, lizards, and chuckwallas when their other rations ran short.

They had a fine spring running off the rock cliff next to the house, which formed a pool for a number of ducks, and water for a few chickens, a pig, and a large dog. They shared this water with wandering prospectors, and in 1880 one mentioned the simple test for borax.

Winters immediately sent for some alcohol and acid, and when it arrived he and his wife traveled to Death Valley and gathered cotton-ball and surface crusts from the Furnace Creek playa. When they ground the samples and added acid and alcohol, all of them burned with a green flame, the sure test for borax.

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

Harmony Borax Works is also California Historical Landmark 773.

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