Curtis Howe "Doc" Springer was an eccentric preacher and health food salesman. During World War I, he was a boxing instructor in the army. After the war, he became head of an academy in Florida, where he married Mary Louise Berkebile. She convinced him that Pennsylvania would be the perfect place to build his dream health resort. In 1931 the resort, called "Haven of Rest", was built in Maple Glen, PA.
Fast-talking and charismatic, Springer wooed the local residents with promises of allowing guests to stay at his resort at no charge, and a tuition-free college for ambitious youths that would be supported by labor on his rabbit farm. Due to construction costs of the resort, his overgenerosity inevitably led to financial troubles. He was unable to pay his taxes and closed the resort in 1937.
In 1944 he tried again, building a health resort in the desert in Zzyzx, CA complete with a 60-room hotel, church, radio station, and a "zyport" for airplanes. (The airstrip is located on the abandoned grade of the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad.)
For thirty years, Springer advertised his bread, cereal, tea and bath salts on radio programs across the country. However, the American Medical Association considered him a quack. The FDA charged him with false advertising. The Internal Revenue Service charged him with tax evasion. Finally, in 1974 the Bureau of Land Management evicted him for misuse of government land.
Springer died in Las Vegas, NV in 1986 at the age of 90.