The Alphabet

What’s making us happy today?

All letters loved equally. The end of the alphabet is oft ignored, or dreaded (think Scrabble). That’s why it is fun to stumble across the settlement of Zzyzx (pronounced zy-zix), California, while joyriding in the Mojave Desert.

Nope, not the invention of hippies, hipsters, or even cats randomly hitting a keyboard. This is the work of well-known radio evangelist, and (not) medical doctor Curtis Howe Springer, who founded the Zzyzx Mineral Springs Resort in the 1940s. Today, California State University’s Desert Studies Center operates from here.


The museum with one letter. “O” is the magic letter—and the only one—in this creative venue, known as O Street Museum. A visit will properly bend one’s mind, given the number of artifacts, including 20,000 books, and 15,000 pieces of art. Designed in 1892 by the same architect behind the U.S. Capitol, the five Dupont Circle row houses collectively stretch over 30,000 square feet. Secret doors (opinions differ on how many) lead to  rooms filled with curios, some rotating and others permanent, like signature guitars signed by the likes of Bob Dylan and U2.

The McMansion can be toured daily. Call in advance to arrange themed tours, one around numerology; another a treasure hunt; and, the Rosa Parks option for a look at the activist’s former room. For something so vast, it’s always surprising how many people overlook it.