A Brief History
Sweet Springs Resort


The former Andrew S. Rowan Memorial Home was once  the famous Old Sweet Springs Resort and was as well known among the so-called "Beautiful People" as the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs is today.  It is said that George Washington stayed there, as well as some other presidents and other notables, possibly also Thomas Jefferson, for whom the main building is named. It is quite possible that Jefferson designed the main building, himself.

The main building, the Ball building (now torn down), three cottages (one of which was torn down in the seventies when the new men's addition was added) and the Bath House or swimming pool were all build before the Civil War, possibly around the 1820's or 30's.  The bricks in these buildings, as well as those in St. John's Catholic Chapel and those in the old William Lewis Mansion known as Lynnside look very similar and could have been made at the same time by the same people (probably slaves).

Before the advent of automobiles, transportation was mainly by horses or horse-drawn carriages and the Old Sweet Springs Resort was one of several springs that were visited by the wealthy and influential people of the day.  They came for the social life and the healing qualities that they believed the water possessed.  Some of them would spend a great deal of time during the summer at these resorts and would visit several of them, going from one to the other during the course of the summer.  There was The Greenbrier at White Sulphur Springs, a tavern and stagecoach stop at Crows, Sweet Chalybeate, formerly known as Red Springs, Sweet Springs, Salt Sulphur and many other springs on the route.  These resorts provided employment for the local residents and many of them depended on them for their living.  When automobiles became fairly common, many of the resorts closed and some of the residents left when their source of employment was gone.  Many of these communities are only a shadow of their former selves, but the remains of the resorts can still be seen today, although much has gone to ruin.  The Greenbrier, Salt Sulphur and Sweet Springs still stand today while part of Sweet Chalybeate is gone and some of the rest is deteriorated.

Sweet Springs, which is to be sold at auction on December 2, 1995 was built in the early 1800's and rivaled The Greenbrier in its day.  Some time during the first part of the 1900's after automobiles became common, the resort declined and was finally closed and turned into a TB Sanitarium.  After the sanitarium was closed, the State of West Virginia bought it and turned it into an old age home.  After being operated as a personal care home for many years, the state let the Monroe County Commission take over the property and operate a personal care home in one part and a drug rehabilitation service in another part.  After  a short time, the Bank of White Sulphur repossessed the property and will be selling it on December 2.  Most residents hope that someone will purchase the property, restore it and provide much-needed employment to the local residents.