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Trona California



City History
Starting in the late 1800s mining industry set up around Searles Dry Lake to mine borax.

Trona was officially established in 1913, as a self-contained company town, wholly operated by its resident mining company to house employees. Employees were paid in company scrip instead of cash. The mining company also built a library, a scrip-accepting for-profit grocery store, a school, basic housing, and minimal recreation facilities. 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.

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.

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.

Trona also serves as the headquarters and base of operations for the Trona Railway, a shortline railroad.

Trona High School's unique dirt football field.

Trona High School has 162 students and competes as the Tornadoes. It has the only dirt American football field in the United States outside of Alaska.[1]

A number of Hollywood films have been shot in the surrounding area (particularly around the Pinnacles), including Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Planet of the Apes.[1] It also serves as the setting of the 2008 comedy Just Add Water.

Content from Wikipedia

The Life Cycle of Tax Auction Properties

After 5 - 7 years of unpaid taxes a property is eligible for the tax auction. If it was connected sewer charges are added, setting the initial minimum bid. Property owners have until the auction date to bring the balance current removing the property from the auction. Habitable properties very seldom make it to auction. It's the uninhabitable that do. In many cases these properties require much more in renovation than the finished product could be  worth. Especially after a large bid to acquire it. The new owners start paying the taxes and sewer charges until they discover their mistake and stop paying the property taxes and sewer charges. Unpaid taxes become a tax lien on their credit report. After 5 - 7 years of unpaid taxes the cycle starts again.


Why do we care?

This repeating cycle severely limits rebuilding Trona. How would you like to live in a neighborhood with abandoned and burnt down homes that will never be repaired?


Abandoned homes attract vandals and scavengers degrading the neighborhood. With all the windows broken, doors, cabinets and fixtures missing they look awful. The utility companies have started removing the gas and electric meters on abandoned homes to reduce the chance of fires. However, then the homes require a complete series of permits before the meters can be  replaced. This can be quite expensive even if you do all the work yourself. If you have to rely on contractors the total will most likely surpass the value of the finished product.  


Why should you care?

Well, if for no other reason, you're going to lose your money. Then, when you stop paying the taxes, the tax lien will wreck your credit. While it seems like a good idea to buy a house in California for only 3 - 5 thousand, the bidding can get to 20 or 30 thousand. Then the buyer is in for a big surprise. It's not going to worth a whole lot more after it's repaired. Leveling any house and building new would cost way more than the finished home could bring.


Should you buy in Trona?

Yes! Just know what your buying. If you like a challenge and enjoy this type of work by all means do it. Inspect the property before you bid to estimate what your total cost should be and don't bid too much! If you're not so handy, look for a finished home to buy through a Realtor. You'll be money ahead on a great desert home.


If you do decide to restore one, there are many sources of assistance. There is a large hardware store in Trona for most of your needs and a Home Depot in Ridgecrest. Both are staffed with very helpful people. Also, there are several contractors and handymen that live or work in Trona for the things you can't handle yourself.

Recent Auction "Buys"

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