How Zzyzx Road Got Its Name

Zzyzx Road in San Bernardino County, California, is famous for its spelling and for an awful movie of the same name. Zzyzx Road is named after the community of Zzyzx, which was once Camp Soda and Soda Springs. But why the name change? Road Trippers has the story.

Well, that's where things get a little weird. Curtis Howe Springer was one of those old-timey radio evangelists, way back in the day. However, he wasn't actually a minister of any kind. He was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama, and spent much of his early life convincing people he was a doctor.  He proclaimed himself to be the "last of the old-time medicine men", but the American Medical Association disagreed. They proclaimed him "King of the Quacks" in 1969.

Throughout his life Curtis also claimed to be a boxing teacher in the U.S. Army, the "Dean of Greer College" (a defunct/bankrupt school in Chicago), he was a rabble-rouser during Prohibition (he was in favor of it, and railed against "Demon Rum"). He also loved making up universities. Like "National Academy, The Springer School of Humanism, the American College of Doctors and Surgeons, the Westlake West Virginia College, and two non-existent osteopathy schools in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania and New Jersey." He sounds like a real catch. My favorite though is how he'd write his name on pamphlets for speaking engagements: Curtis Howe Springer, M.D., N.D., D.O., Ph.D.

You can see where this is going: Curtis Howe Springer came up with the name. But his story is both fascinating and outrageous, and you should go read the whole thing. -via Boing Boing

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