Furnace Creek, California
Furnace Creek is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California. The population was 24 at the 2010 census, down from 31 at the 2000 census. The elevation of the village is 190 feet (58 m) below sea level. Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest recorded air temperature on Earth at 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913, although the reliability of this record has been disputed. Furnace Creek also holds the record for the highest recorded natural ground surface temperature on Earth at 201 °F (93.9 °C) on July 15, 1972.
The visitor center, museum, and headquarters of the Death Valley National Park are located at Furnace Creek.
Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, Furnace Creek has a total area of 31.5 square miles (82 km2), over 99% of it being land.
From 1911 through 2006, A period of 95 years, Furnace Creek had an average high temperature of 91.4 °F (33.0 °C) and an average low temperature of 62.9 °F (17.2 °C). During that time period, the hottest month was July with an average daily high temperature of 116.5 °F (46.9 °C) and the driest month was June with an average monthly precipitation of 0.05 in (1.3 mm).
Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest recorded temperature in the world, reaching 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913. Some meteorologists dispute the accuracy of the 1913 temperature measurement. According to news reports, the "highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth", registered at 130 °F (54.4 °C), was recorded on Sunday 16 August 2020 in Furnace Creek.
In addition, a ground temperature of 201 °F (93.9 °C) was recorded in Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972; this may be the highest natural ground surface temperature ever recorded. (Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50 °C.)
The William Tell Coleman Borax Company established Greenland Ranch in 1883, named after the green alfalfa fields which they planted there. They established a weather station at the ranch in 1891. Greenland Ranch was renamed Furnace Creek Ranch in 1933.
The Timbisha tribe currently live at the Death Valley Indian Community reservation here. They provided many of the artisans and builders to construct the original Fred Harvey Company resort buildings, the Indian Village, and Park Service structures. They compose the majority of residents of Furnace Creek's permanent population at the tribe's reservation. Furnace Creek was formerly the center of Death Valley mining and operations for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the historic 20 Mule Teams hauling wagon trains of borax across the Mojave Desert.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Furnace Creek had a population of 24. The population density was 0.8 people per square mile (0.3/km2). The racial makeup was six (25.0%) White, 16 (66.7%) American Indian, and two (8.3%) from two or more races.
The Census reported that 24 people (100% of the population) lived in households. There were 15 households, out of which two (13.3%) had children under age 18, four (26.7%) were married couples living together, four (20.0%) had a female householder with no husband present. Eight households (53.3%) were made up of individuals, and three (20.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 1.60. There were seven families (46.7%), and the average family size was 2.29. The population consisted of two people (8.3%) under 18, two (8.3%) aged 18 to 24, five (20.8%) aged 25 to 44, nine (37.5%) aged 45 to 64, and six (25.0%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 52.0 years.
There were 15 occupied housing units at an average density of 0.6 per square mile (0.2/km2), of which 11 (73.3%) were owner-occupied, and four (26.7%) were occupied by renters.
The village is surrounded by a number of National Park Service public campgrounds. The Ranch at Death Valley is located here, part of the Oasis at Death Valley, one of the park's major tourist facilities. The Furnace Creek Golf Course attached to the ranch claims to be the lowest in the world at 214 feet (65 m) below sea level. Some of the lodging is closed in the summer when temperatures can exceed 125 °F (52 °C), but the golf course remains open; the resort established a summer tournament in 2011 called the Heatstroke Open which drew a field of 48. There are also a restaurant, cafe, store, and gas station in Furnace Creek village. The Furnace Creek Airport is located about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) west of the park headquarters.
California Historical Landmark
Near Furnace Creek is California Historical Landmark number 442, Death Valley '49ers Gateway, assigned on October 24, 1949. The marker is at the corner of California State Route 190 and Badwater Road.
The California Historical Landmark reads:
- NO. 442 DEATH VALLEY GATEWAY - Through this natural gateway the Death Valley '49ers, more than 100 emigrants from the Middle West seeking a shortcut to gold fields of central California, entered Death Valley in December 1849. All suffered from thirst and starvation. Seeking an escape from the region, two contingents went southwest from here, while the others proceeded northwest.
- Geology of the Death Valley area
- Places of interest in the Death Valley area
- History of California through 1899
- Henry Wade Exit Route a 49er
- California Historical Landmarks in Inyo County