Death Valley is located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California. Due to its location to the east of four mountain ranges, which produce increasingly severe rain shadows, Death Valley has several distinction. It holds the American records for highest reliably recorded temperature, lowest elevation, and driest climate.
The site was occupied by Indians for a thousand years before the arrival of the first Europeans. It was given its name during the California Gold Rush due to the belief that many would die crossing it in pursuit of gold, although only one actual death was recorded.
In the latter part of the 19th century, mining of borax began, with the mineral being hauled out with mule teams. The image of those mule teams was preserved on packages of Boraxo. Much of Death Valley is now included in the Death Valley National Monument.
You may enjoy the book Railroads of Death Valley.