The desert weather brings hot, dry summers, usually hovers around 100 in the day time, and something kind of rare--the city touts sunshine 365 days a year. That means even when it rains you can count on the sunshine reappearing within the same day. And for brides needing sunshine for a wedding, this California City's got it. If you don't fall in love with the name of the place, then maybe the 2,400 feet elevation in the high desert will grab you.
Within the city bounds you'll find a portion of a national historic trail--Twenty Mule Team Trail. Created to carry borax ore from Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley to the railhead in Mojave. Borax which is found naturally in Boron, California, was used to separate the gold from the ore in gold mining. Borax is a powder substance created from the mineral boron, which is made mostly from long-decomposed sea creatures like plankton, trapped in limestone substrate. Boron is mixed with oxygen and sodium to form Borax, which is used in detergents and eco-friendly pesticides also. The rocks containing boron are known as borate, and are mined in manners similar to the coal-mining process. The largest borate mine is located in California, a pit more than 500 feet deep and a mile long.
Sheep farming, cotton and alfalfa have all been tried in for agricultural income, but most such efforts have failed as the weather gets too hot and cooks the crops.
Today, most of the jobs come from the nearby Air Force Base and from tourism to the desert lands and such as the Mojave National Preserve. In the city one of the points of interest to the community is Central Park, which features amenities locals enjoy and they invited tourists to check out such as a par 3 golf course, fishing, and paddle boating. Central Park is one of the key components to the city, itself. A real estate developer, Nat Mendelsohn, purchased 80,000 acres (320 km2) of Mojave Desert land with the aim of creating the next great Los Angeles. His desert city would have a master plan which that would make it a highly desirable location to live, so he created Central Park with a 26-acre artificial lake. California City was incorporated in 1965, and ranks as the 34th largest city in the U.S. for land mass.
Interesting neighbors! California City is surrounded by undeveloped desert, including a 25,000-acre Desert Tortoise Preserve administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), located along a portion of the city's northeastern bounds, part of Kern County lands that surround California City to the north, east, south and west.
Things to See:
Desert Tortoise, Mule Deer, Wildlife
East Kern Historical Museum Society - The historical society preserves local history. Borax wagons are on display at the Police Department, in California City.
From the archives: Learn about the 20-Mule-Borax Team, which the Pacific Coast Borax Company sent to St. Louis from Death Valley, that famous region of desolation in which so many human beings perished. One stretch of 60 miles was without water -- water and food for man and beast have to be carried by the teams. In the burning sands of Death Valley, each wagon weighs seven thousand eight hundred pounds. The man who is acknowledged to be the best handler of the jerk-line and driver of 20-mule teams, is Bill Parkinson, better known as "Borax Bill." The building of railroads to all portions of the great West is rapidly narrowing the sphere of these mighty teams. Ere long the 20-Mule-Borax Team and Borax Bill will be relics of the past. They have, however, performed an interesting and useful part in the service of man and the development of our country. - Excerpt from The 20-Mule-Team & its Famous Driver Borax Bill, By the Pacific Coast Borax Co. (circa 1870's)