Boron (formerly, Amargo, Baker, Borate, and Kern) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kern County, California, United States. Boron is located 15 miles (24 km) east-southeast of Castle Butte, at an elevation of 2467 feet (752 m). The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census. In 1990 the population was 2,904. Boron is a hinterland community on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. A unique asset of the location is that within a half day drive you can view the highest and lowest points in the contiguous 48 states of the United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), the world's oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine), and the cities of both Los Angeles and the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Boron is home to California's largest open-pit mine, which is also the largest borax mine in the world.
Boron is located at the border of Kern and San Bernardino Counties along State Route 58. The coordinates are:. Boron is 65 miles (105 km) north of Palmdale, 85 miles (137 km) east of Bakersfield, and 40 miles (64 km) west of Barstow in the Antelope Valley region of California's Mojave Desert. Its elevation is 2,467 feet (752 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.9 square miles (35.9 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,025 people, 801 households, and 535 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 146.2 people per square mile (56.5/km²). There were 1,103 housing units at an average density of 79.6/sq mi (30.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 85.04% White, 2.22% Black or African American, 2.86% Native American, 1.58% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 4.74% from other races, and 3.46% from two or more races. 9.04% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 801 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.0 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,625, and the median income for a family was $44,674. Males had a median income of $47,045 versus $23,854 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,294. About 15.2% of families and 19.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.8% of those under age 18 and 19.4% of those age 65 or over.
"Dr. J. K. Suckow was drilling a well for water 4 1/2 miles northwest of Boron when he discovered colemanite, a borax ore, in October, 1913. After his discovery, mining claims, mostly placer, were located in the area. The Pacific Coast Borax Company, upon recommendation of its field engineer, Clarence Rasor, acquired many of these claims, including the discovery well. The company then started explorations to determine the extent of the orebody. Suckow continued to have an interest in the area, working prospects east of his discovery well.
"In 1924, anxious to repeat his good fortune, Suckow sunk a shaft one-half mile away from his first, and he struck basalt at 180 feet (55 m) . The Pacific Coast Borax Company did their own prospecting in the same area, with almost the same results: basalt at 190 feet (58 m). However, persistence paid off. That same year Suckow sunk another shaft just a little south of his last one and found a 70-foot (21 m) thick bed of colemanite at 210 feet (64 m). In 1925 the Suckow Chemical Company produced a few hundred tons of colemanite from this shaft.
"In the Spring of 1925, William M. Dowsing and J. L. Hannan discovered a huge deposit 120 feet (37 m) thick just 1 1/2 miles west of Suckow's shaft, which they kept a secret until its extent was proven. Sold to the Pacific Coast Borax Company in early 1926, it became known as the Baker Mine. Beginning production in 1927, it yielded a substantial percentage of the borates produced in the Kramer District until 1935.
"Production began in December, 1929, at the Suckow Mine, located near the Baker Mine. Suckow Borax Mines Consolidated, Ltd. shared half-interest as tenant in common of the Suckow Mine with Borax Consolidated, Ltd. The two companies became involved in litigation which resulted in the closure of the mine in 1932. It was reopened in 1935 as the West Baker Mine with the Borax Consolidated, Ltd. as owners."
The first post office at Boron opened in 1938.
A large borax deposit was discovered in 1925, and the mining town of Boron was established soon thereafter. This borax deposit is now the world's largest borax mine, which is owned by Rio Tinto Minerals (formerly U.S. Borax). This is operated as an open-pit mine, which is the largest open-pit mine in California. This mine supplies nearly half of the world's supply of refined borates. Rio Tinto Minerals is Boron's primary employer, employing over 800 people.
6 miles (9.7 km) east of Boron, across the county line in San Bernardino County, is the world's largest solar power production facility. The Kramer Junction Company (KJC) is the Managing General Partner of the five 30-Megawatts Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) facilities located in the Mojave Desert at Kramer Junction, California. Together with its wholly owned subsidiary, KJC Operating Company, KJC operates and manages these facilities (SEGS III-VII). These units generate enough electricity to provide the electrical needs of 30,000 to 40,000 homes without the use of fossil fuels.
Law enforcement services are provided by the Kern County Sheriff's Department. From 1933 to 1954 personnel from the Mojave Substation met the law enforcement need of the Boron area. The first actual office space occupied by the Sheriff's Office in Boron was a Quonset hut shared with the Fire Department in the 12200 block of Boron Avenue. This continued until 1963 when the Sheriff's Office established the substation building at 26949 Cote Street. This building housed a small jail and the Justice Court in Boron, which operated one day a week.