Stafford Wallace Austin

Austin Hall named after Stafford Wallace Austin

Austin Hall

The photo above is of Austin hall. It was built in 1914 and was torn down 1965.
Austin Hall T-shirts with this picture are available to visitors of Trona from the SVHS.

Stafford Wallace Austin and Wife Mary Hunter

Stafford Wallace Austin and Wife Mary Hunter Austin

Stafford Wallace Austin brought the Trona chemical plant out of bankruptcy after he was appointed as the receiver buy the court. Here is a short history with pictures of his time in Trona.

In the early 1900s dozens of promoters and miners tried unsuccessfully to recover soda ash from the lake’s surface. The California Trona Company borrowed nearly $2 million to build two experimental plants to recover soda ash, potash, borax and sodium sulfate from the lake. Deep in debt, placed in receivership before the facilities were completed. Serving as receiver for the failed business, Stafford Wallace Austin began building roads onto the lake and drilling exploratory wells. The Valley’s earliest operators had quite literally, scratched only the surface of the lake’s mineral wealth. Early operators recovered borax by scraping crystals from the lake’s surface crust. Austin discovered a mineral-rich layer of salts about 100 feet beneath the surface. Operators have concentrated on recovering brine from those layers of salt ever since. Stafford was also Trona’s first postmaster. He was appointed March 27, 1914.

If you would like to know more about Stafford Wallace Austin the man for which Austin Hall was named go to This is a great site created by Larry Blakely.

Stafford Wallace Austin on ah fishing trip
S. W. Austin with other Trona men on trip to Kern River : Photo from J. Whitelaw


Stafford Wallace Austin's fishing trip at Kern River
Trona men on trip to Kern River : Photo from J. A. Whitelaw

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