Trona is a town located in San Bernardino County, California, in the area known as Searles Valley. Trona is at the western edge of Searles Lake, a dry lakebed at the bottom of in Searles Valley, southwest of Death Valley. The town takes its name from the mineral "trona", abundant in the lake.
Trona was officially established in 1913, as a self-contained company town, wholly operated by its resident mining company to house employees.
Economic booms and busts followed. Its most notable boom occurred during World War I, when Trona was the only reliable American source of potash, an important element used in the production of gunpowder.
The Trona Railway was built in 1913-14 to provide the town with a rail connection to the Southern Pacific (now the Union Pacific) line at Searles. The railway still operates today.
Today, Searles Valley Minerals Inc.'s soda ash processing plant remains the largest firm in town. Other operations nearby include evaporative salt extraction from the playa surface, and a lime quarry. Searles Valley Minerals is the largest employer in Trona, and many employees live in Ridgecrest, California, commuting daily to Trona.
A number of Hollywood films have been shot in the surrounding area. Particularly around the Trona Pinnacles, including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Planet of the Apes.
LINK: Searles Valley Historical Society.
LINK: Photos are from the Bobak Gallery on Wikipedia