Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona

In a small town about 170 miles (274km) northeast of Los Angeles, California, and on the western edge of Death Valley, is a small town called Trona. The name comes from the mineral trona, which is processed into soda ash and can be made into baking soda, glass, paper products, laundry detergents and other things.

Trona, California has a population of about 1,900 residents (as of 2015) and is also known for its local school football team to play on a dirt field because of the searing heat, where the highly saline soil kills the grass. It’s also an unincorporated area which means it’s not governed by local municipal corporation.

The desolated, dry, post-apocalyptic town of Trona has been in several films such as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Planet of the Apes. It can be a great place for interesting shots which photographer Mark Broyer did when he took his family to the town of Trona.

Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona

How did you come across this little town of Trona?

“I was on a camping holiday with the family in California in May 2017. I came across this modern ghost town while researching on the internet for the route. And since I do love ghost towns I planned beforehand to do a photo series of it.”

Your photos of the town made it seem like it was completely deserted, was there anyone there at all?

“It was at high noon and the sun was burning. All the smart people stayed inside. The only human I met was a friendly police officer. I took photos for half an hour until it became too hot. But otherwise, I would have waited till people leave the scene. But I doubt that there are many people on the streets at a different time. ”

Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona

Overall what were your personal impressions of Trona, was it what you expected, how did you feel about it, would you live there?

“First I was a little bit disappointed because it was different than expected. Large parts of the town are abandoned residential houses. Like a scene from the TV-Series “Walking Dead” with a very depressing atmosphere. And I was hoping for industrial areas or business buildings and like an atmosphere from a western movie where it seems that time stands still for a moment. For great colors and lines.

And to be honest, first, it did not seem a safe place to be since I was traveling with my wife and the baby. But then I found area around soda ash factory (the largest employer in town) and it was exactly what I was looking for.

I would not live there. It is in the middle of the desert and it is largely abandoned. I have learned that most of the people who work in Trona are living in the nearby town of Ridgecrest.”

Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona

Post Apocalyptic Town of Trona

Written by Yung Tsai. Photos © Mark Broyer.
Follow Mark on his Instagram account. Visit his website for more work and info.

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