THE HISTORY of SWEET SPRINGS, MONROE COUNTY
THE HISTORY of SWEET SPRINGS, MONROE COUNTY (By Barbara Ruth Kidd) (It's continued from a previous issue)
William Lewis, the owner and originator of the resort idea, was the son of John Lewis, Irish immigrant and early prominent settler of Augusta county. As early as 1754 Andrew and William Lewis were exploring the banks of Dunlap Creek near Sweet Springs.
The Sweet Springs site was chosen for the home spot by 1760, but the Lewises did not move there until 1784 or thereabouts. William Lewis lived there from then until his death in 1811. He was said to be as brave as any of his brothers, but less disposed to seek fame by killing. He was considered handsome, muscular, and very pious.
Note- James A. Waddell, "Annals of Augusta County 1726-1871", page 126. The other brothers were Thomas, Andrew and Charles Lewis. Andrew is noted for his exploits as an Indian fighter and for his participation in the Battle of Point Pleasant. Charles was killed at Point Pleasant. Thomas was the first surveyor of Augusta County, Va.
The first Lewis home at Sweet Springs was a large log cabin located near a mill at the Red Sweet (now Sweet Chalybeate), about one mile from the location of the present buildings at Sweet Springs. Later he built a stone house which stood at the rear of the site on which the brick mansion, Lynnside, stood.
One rumor has it that Sweet Springs was bought by men from South Carolina about 1796 who planned to erect several commodious dwellings in the neighborhood. Whether these dwellings were to have been on the Springs property proper can only be guesswork for apparently the deal did not materialize. The Sweet Springs land remained in the Lewis family hands for many years to come.
Note-Weld, Isaac, "Travels in Virginia in Revolutionary Times".
William Lewis apparently had turned over the Sweet Springs property to his son John before 1805, because in that year John Lewis leased the Sweet Springs property for a period of eight years to Robert and George Turner. They were to pay an annual rent of 2,000. This lease became effective January 1, 1807.
The Turners agreed to keep the courthouse and jail in good repair and not to permit timber to be cut nor to allow any tenants on the land. In leasing the property, Lewis agreed not to put a tavern on what was known as the Mill Place since it would be detrimental to the Sweet Springs Property under the management of the Turners.
Note-Sweet Springs District Court Record Book page 172-175. The location of the Mill Place is not known; however, since a number Of mills probably operated along Dunlap Creek at various times it could have been at almost any place on the creek.
William Lewis had divided 436 acres of the farm between the Sweet and Red Springs between his sons, John and Charles Lewis, on October 25, 1804. It is quite likely that the Mill Place was part of this farm.
James Moss, the squatter on the Lewis property in earlier days, was still a landowner in the Sweet Springs area in 1807. On April 7 of that year Moss gave a deed of trust to John Lewis for a debt of $230.64. Charles Lewis was made trustee and was to sell the property at public auction if the debt was not paid within one year,
No change in ownership of the property was made until John B. Lewis, grandson of the first William, gave a deed of trust to the property to one Laurens Haskell, for a debt of l0,000. It was to be paid off in ten years, but there is no evidence that Lewis failed to meet the obligation.
John B. Lewis's brother, William L. Lewis, in 1842 apparently took over a portion of the debt and received a deed of trust for 1,000 acres of the Sweet Springs property as security for $9,000.
In this same year John B. Lewis found himself embroiled in a large debt which gave to various men deeds of trust for much of his property including that at Sweet Springs. The reasons for this debt are vague. Three years previous he had built a new and grand hotel and it could be that he was unable to finance the venture.
Also local tradition and family legends hint that he might have lost it at the "gaming table." The debt incurred by Lewis amounted to the magnificent sum of $34,555. excluding a debt owed by both John B. Lewis and James L. Woodville of $4526.25. The following is a list of Lewis's creditors.
Thomas P. Lewis $16,000.
Bank of Virginia 8,500.
Wm B. Phillips 5,535,
James L. Woodville 4,520.
(There also was another debt for which the sum is not given.)
In the case of all these debts the same security was put up; Sweet Springs and all the rest of Lewis's vast holdings in Monroe and Allegany counties. Also if the debt were not paid within a specified time, all of the lands were to be advertised and sold at public auction. They were to be advertised in the National Intelligencer, Washington; Richmond Whig, Richmond Enquirer, New York Courier, New York Enquirer, Western Whig of Lewisburg, Fincastle Democrat and Lynchburg Virginian.
However, Lewis was permitted to remain in residence until either the debt was paid or the land was sold. A debt of $4,526.25 incurred by both Lewis and Woodville; is not clear, but in all probability it was connected with the mysterious debt of John B. Lewis.
At any rate, Oliver Beirne became a purchaser of the Sweet Springs tract when it was put on sale by Commissioners John Echols and Samuel Price on August 18, 1852. He executed his four bonds with Allen T. Caperton as his security. Each bond was for $13,367.50 payable in one, two, three, and four years. On October 14, 1852, at circuit court a decree was entered; .... The commissioners Price and Echols aforesaid having made their report of the sale of the lands aforesaid to which there was no exception, the same was confirmed, and it appearing that Oliver Beirne became the purchaser of the Sweet Springs and adjoining lands, and has executed bonds with security for the purchase money which are filed with said report.
The court ordered that George W. Hutchinson make a deed of conveyance for Oliver Beirne "for said lands at his cost." A few weeks later Beirne sold half of the property to Allen T. Caperton and Christopher J. Heinle, giving them each one fourth of it. These three men constituted the Sweet Springs Company.
Then on October 12, 1858, Allen T. Caperton sold to Oliver Beirne the land at the headwaters of Dunlap's Creek known as t he Sweet Springs tract and containing several tracts, one of them 184 acres on which the hotel buildings stood and another 219 acres and also 245 acres, both of which joined the first. Oliver Beirne, Allen T. Caperton, and Christopher J. Beirne bought this in 1857.
Caperton also sold his interest in a sawmill, apparently on one of the previously mentioned tracts of land. A few days earlier Christopher Beirne sold to Oliver Beirne his interest in the same lands for $45,000.
Christopher Beirne also sold his rights and interest in 480 acres on Dunlap's Creek very near the Sweet Springs tract which had been purchased that same month by the partners from A. A. Chapman, commissioner. And thus the Sweep Springs property remained until after the Civil War.
Sweet Springs was always crowded in the early days. Sometimes visitors arriving as late as July had the difficult problem of finding sleeping room for themselves. Some slept on the bar room tables and on the benches of the old courthouse, at that time the church for the Springs.
Or, if one had influential friends, one might be able to squeeze one more cot (this is absolutely the last one) into one of the log cabins. There would probably already be five or six cots in the same cabin.
However, nearly everyone admit he accommodations at the Sweet Springs were nearly always good, the fare excellent. Of course, the dining room had not been built with the idea of so many guests as were there in 1834. One could always set up additional large tables in the bar room. What an alluring prospect this must have held for some of the guests.
By 1834 Sweet Springs was considered by some to be as beautiful as White Sulphur Springs, but one visitor said of it: "Nature has perhaps done as much here as at any watering place among the mountain; but I do not think the improvements or the arrangements of the buildings at all equal to those at the White Sulphur Springs. The extensive undulating lawn, and grove of noble oaks - the cottages on the open green, or peering from amidst the trees do indeed, present a beautiful scene. But the latter are scattered in rows or groups over the ground without any regular order, and the lawn has never undergone any of the operations of art. The springs rise under the piazza of a low and long house, at the foot of the hillock on which the tavern stands, and in a hollow formed by this with the small hill on which the cabins are principally built. The reservoir is a circle of about five feet diameter, surrounded by a railing two or three feet high. Great quantities of carbonic acid gas are constantly emitted, which come bubbling up through t he water, giving it somewhat the appearance of boiling."
(Note-"Visits to the Virginia Springs During the Summer of 1834, page 613, Southern Literary Messenger, 1835.)
He might have been a-little kinder to the buildings had he known what was to come. The same year Peregrine Prolix described his surroundings with a great deal of enthusiasm:
"Four hours were taken to reach the Sweet by coach, one of the most ancient and celebrated places in the United States. The aspect of the place is lovely, the harsh and rough features which belong to more recent clearings have been mellowed and molded into symmetry by the gentle touch of time, that great innovator; and in Virginia mountains, almost the sole improver because nobody else has capital enough, and time is a capital fellow for time is money.
"You drive into a spacious green undulating area, shaded here and there with trees, and surrounded by motley groups of frame buildings of all shapes and ages, and you see in front of you, rising behind a row of modern cabins, a remarkably beautiful rounded hill, whose tree-clad top seems to lead by a gentle acclivity to the mountain range which bounds the view.
"In a little valley on your left is a frame building containing two large and separate baths for the two sexes, and under its piazza is a famous spring, sweet in name but slightly acidulous in taste, sparkling and spirit stirring like champagne and ever copiously flowing like the stream of time. This sends forth a power of water and it fills two large plunging baths, which are very agreeable from the sparkling transparency and high temperature of the elements."
Both of these gentlemen would have been surprised if they had seen the buildings at Sweet Springs four years later. The "inestimable Dr. Lewis had been later in beginning an expansion program for his resort than had the other spas, but it was generally agreed by even the most fastidious that he had outdone them all.
(Note-She has a note questioning the identity of Dr. Lewis but Phil says it is the grandson to William Lewis namely John B. for Benjamin, Lewis. He was a doctor.)
In place of the crude frame cabins had arisen a brick hotel of proportions such as were not to be seen anywhere else in the mountains, not even at White Sulphur: The whole width of the two-story brick building was 250 feet and it was an astounding forty-eight feet deep.
The second floor consisted of thirty-six bedrooms, each about fourteen feet square. The dining room on the first floor was 160 feet long- one end of which was a ladies drawing room and at the other end a room reserved for dancing, each forty by forty-eight feet. If the inside was astonishing the inside was awe-inspiring.
The piazza, seventeen feet wide, ran the whole length of the building and stood on brick arches reached by three sets of black walnut steps. These steps were the sides of each of three porticos, by which the front of the building was ornamented.
The basement was used for a kitchen, bar, bake and storerooms and offices There were also two reception rooms in the basement, one for ladies and one for gentlemen. Dr. Lewis or some of the former owners of the Springs must hale had this hotel in mind or plans drawn for it for several years because it is rumored to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson.
(Note-In many respects, the Sweet Springs hotel building resembles the buildings at the University of Virginia designed by Jefferson. For example, the columns, porticos, and several other architectural technicalities are the same in both. The building resembles in the finest detail an unidentified sketch by Jefferson in the archives of the Alderman Library, Charlottesville, Va. Members of the Lewis family report that the original plans for the building as drawn by Jefferson were in possession of the Lewis family until about 1900. Their location at present is not known. These plans were definitely labeled as having been drawn by Jefferson, while the sketch in the Alderman Library is not identified, but is said by Jeffersonian experts to be lettered in his hand.
In fact, the whole thing was so magnificent that at least one person wondered how it would be paid for. "Poor fellow, I'm afraid his means will fail " said Miss Elizabeth Van Lew in a letter. His means must have failed, for in a few years John B. Lewis was forced to sell Sweet Springs for one reason or another. No wonder, for the entire structure cost $60,000 and as late as 1850 the guests were still eating in an unplastered dining room.
In the years immediately following the purchase of Sweet Springs by Oliver Beirne and his friends, the Springs enjoyed a greater reputation of grandeur and expansion than at any other time. On July 1, 1855, Beirne acquired an immense tract of land near Gap Mills known as the Lewis Place from his brother Andrew in acknowledgement of a debt Andrew Owed. Apparently Andrew was never able to pay because the property stayed in the Oliver Beirne family for many years. Vast herds of horses from the Springs were wintered on the Lewis Place and returned to the Springs in the summer for use of guests during the busy season.
During the Civil War the resort did not appear to operate, nor was Sweet Springs the scene of any important battles or raids. General Averell did go through Sweet Springs on his way to the Salem Raid, and he had intended to return the same way, but due to enemy action he returned by way of Covington instead.
Also, following the Lynchburg Raid the Federal troops returned to Charleston, West Virginia, by way of Newcastle, Sweet Springs, White Sulphur Springs, and Meadow Bluff. Both expeditions caused the usual military depredations on the valley of Sweet Strings, but miraculously the resort buildings themselves were not damaged. Lewis family traditions say that General Hunter gave orders for Lynnside, the Lewis home, and Sweet Springs to be destroyed, but Mrs. Lewis was able to persuade General Averell to place a guard at both places. Chapter 11 Post-Civil War Ownership. Although the resort reopened shortly after the Civil War, patronage of the Spring was greatly reduced in some of the years following it. For instance on July 27, 1885, there were only seventeen guests at the Sweet. Beirne may have been discouraged with his resort because on that date he offered it to the State of West Virginia for the proposed second hospital for the insane, which the legislature was expected to authorize. The complete property was offered to the State for $250,000 about half of its original cost. For some reason, perhaps through lack of funds, the state failed to authorize the proposed hospital.
At the time of his death in 1888, Oliver Beirne was recognized as one of the richest men% in West Virginia. Besides his vast holdings in West Virginia, which amounted to about 8,031 acres, he held land in Virginia and Louisiana.
(Note-Monroe County Land Book, 1888, Sweet Springs constituted 408 acres of this.)
He probably paid more in taxes than all the rest of the community put together. The land book of 1886 shows that Sweet Springs land was worth $75,000 and the total for the buildings and land was $83,568. This is the evaluation of the property for tax purposes and not the sale value of it.
However, by 1892 the total evaluation of the land and the building decreased to only $75,000. Apparently the heirs to whom the property passed after Beirn's death could not or did not desire to keep up the resort. It was kept open to the public during those years with the help of managers.
The heirs to Beirne's property were his daughter, Nannie Van Ahlefeldt, and his grandchildren, the children of William Porcher Miles. Thus all the property except Walnut Grove, the Beirne home at Union, Monroe County, passed into the hands of the grandchildren. Mrs. Von Ahlefeldt got Walnut Grove, Executors of the will were Hugh Caperton, W. G. Caperton and William Porcher Miles, Beirne's son-in-law.
On January 14, 1895, the executors turned over the entire estate to the heirs, the grandchildren. From that time forth the fl property was gradually sold, including the Lewis Place which was sold in 1922 to J. O. and Grover C. Mitchell, Charles E. Lynch, Lon Talbott, C. Thomas Sibold, and Sam A. Lynch.
On December 15, 1903, the property at Sweet Springs was sold to the Old Sweet Springs Company headed by Charles C. Lewis, Jr. This included all personal property at the hotel and the farming implements. With it went some land in Alleghany and Craig Counties, Virginia, including the stable at Allegany Station.
The whole purchase included some 1,218 1/4 acres of land and was to cost the company $35,000 plus interest. If the payments were not completed by December, 1913, the heirs could sell the property by law. The records show that Lewis was notified in July 1909 that he had not paid his corporation taxes for the year, and in August he was notified for a license for his golf club, both by the state of West Virginia. The club license was 015,00 and the taxes were 055.00 including a 05.00 penalty for not paying on time. Charles C. Lewis, Jr. apparently said little or nothing to his father concerning his business dealings with Sweet Springs, for the elder Lewis was constantly writing letters that he knew nothing of certain debts about the resort but that payment would be forthcoming. Oddly enough, the debts were never specific.
The deed of 1903 had stated that if the corporation containing Charles C. Lewis, Jr., and others did not pay for the resort by 1913, the Beirne Heirs would get the property back. Apparently the corporation did not meet their financial obligations and the Beirne heirs repossessed it.
On December 11, 1916, Charles C. Lewis Sr., brought suit against the Old Sweet Springs Company with William P. Miles, Jr., and others, the Beirne heirs, with W. M. LaFon (lawyer from Union, West Virginia as special commissioner. On February 6, 1917, John D. Lewis bid in the resort for his father for 60 000 on which C. C. Lewis Sr. made the final purchase April 20, 1917, when Lewis, Jr., went to Union and turned over the check to LaFon. Then, Lewis, Jr., became president of the corporation. (C. C. Lewis, Sr. was Margaret Lynn Lewis Carruthers' grandfather).
The following year C.C. Lewis, Sr., died, and his wife, Bettie, and the Kanawha Banking and Trust Company of Charleston sold the resort to their son, John D. Lewis. The sale included the 1,218 acres, including land in Craig and Allegany Counties, Virginia. She also sold 570 acres on Cover Creek.
She also sold a stable situated at Allegany Station on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in Alleghany County, together with all of the rights previously held by the Old Sweet Springs Company in the lot on which the stable was located. All personal property of the resort was sold with it.
From that year forth the resort changed hands even more rapidly than previously. In 1920, John D. Lewis sold 610 acres to C. H. Paxton for 69,727.60. in cash. Paxton got all personal property, real estate, and improvements on the property.
Lewis reserved the right to cut and remove timber from the sold land to build stables and other buildings such as may have been needed by him for his tenant houses and other outbuildings on the land which he kept. Lewis also reserved the right to move certain buildings which were located on the sold property.
After that sale the status of the resort became more and more vague. It was still operating for the season of 1924, for the Monroe Watchman re-ported: "Old Sweet Springs, owned and operated by Chas. H. Paxton, an experienced hotel man, will open the middle of this month for the 1924 season. Mr. Paxton has had a force of men% employed for some weeks getting the building and grounds in order for the hundreds of expected guests Mr. Paxton is looking forward to a large number of guests during the summer months and it goes without saying that they will be well provided for by the management".
In December of the same year it was sold again-this time by Mrs. C. H. Paxton, apparently a widow, to W. E. E. Keepler, R. B. Parrish, C. O. Stahlman, and 0. J. Wilson of Bluefield, and C. C. Morfit of Welch. A cash payment of $2,500 was made at the time of the sale with a second payment of $17,500 to be made February ., 1925. If the payment was not made, the buyers lost their right and forfeited the cash payment.
A third payment of $20,000 was to be made April 1, 1925, with smaller payments to be made over a period of years until the resort was paid for. There is no mention made of the actual selling price of it.
The buyers planned to sell $110,000 of stock to be sold at $115 per share and use the money to improve the property. As usual, the owners planned a glorious future for it.
Then the position of Sweet Springs for the next few years became even more vague. About 1928, it was sold to Senator CB. Diel and others who never operated it. In fact, the resort closed as a hotel in either 1926 or 28.
Little can be said about it until August 1938 when it was sold by Dial to D. M. Taylor of Roanoke for $30,000. The sale was forced by the Finance Company of Roanoke, Inc., because of debts owed them by Dial and Company.
On August 18, 1941, the Beckley Post-Herald, carried the following headline: "Old Sweet Springs will be State T.B. Sanitarium." The State of West Virginia had bought the resort from Taylor for $150 000. A sum of $40,000 was paid in cash, and the remainder was paid by the following October. The Post-Herald's story gave the best description of the resort and the reasons for the State's purchasing it:
"Negotiations in Charleston have been completed whereby the State of West Virginia takes over the historic Old Sweet Springs for a tuberculosis institution, relieving the overcrowded conditions in various state institutions.
The Old Sweet, with an altitude of 2,125 feet and an available acreage of 610 acres of valley land, and a housing capacity for 500 patients offers an ideal location for a tuberculosis hospital. The fact that immediate occupancy for a limited number of patients is possible is also in favor of Old Sweet, as is the fact that it has an abundant water supply from an artesian stream.
"The present owner and manager, D. M. Taylor of Roanoke, Virginia, has for some years been reclaiming the old resort, and making livable a large portion of the buildings. At present the ballroom building has about 75 modern sleeping rooms, each beautifully furnished and quipped with bath, eight cottages have already been completely renovated and are serving guests; and the swimming pool stands ready for service with a 60-foot square pool of constantly flowing crystal water.
"The visit of Governor Neely and members of the State Board of Control on last Saturday was very timely. The Old Sweet, stood at its best, and opened for the first time since 1928, was alive with a host of weekend patrons, a fact that attested to its popularity.
"Those in the governor's party were W. S. Wyson, W. C. Cook, State Road Commissioner Ernest L. Bailey, Dr. Carl M. Frasure of West Virginia University, Dr. G. C. Robertson, Dr. C. F. McClintic, State Health Commissioner, Hon. Lon H. Talbott of Union and Senator H. S. Ellison of Union".
On August 21, 1941, the Monroe Watchman speculated on the benefits the proposed sanitarium would bring to Monroe county;
"The people of this senatorial district, and of Monroe County in particular, should indeed be grateful to Senator H. S. Ellison for his devoted efforts to bring one of the state's major institutions here-efforts that culminated successfully with the purchase by the state last week of the Old Sweet Springs property.
"In this effort, which resulted so successfully, Senator Ellison was ably assisted by another state official, Honorable L. H. Talbott of the Road Commission.
"It is too early to predict what changes the creation of a large tubercular sanatorium at Sweet Springs will bring to the life in Monroe County. Undoubtedly it is one of the biggest developments here in the county's history.
"The housing of some 500 to 700 patients at Sweet Springs, together with the staff necessary to care for them, will doubtlessly mean the growth of a fair size town in that community in the course of a few years. Property values will rise, there will be an enlarged market for farm produce of many varieties, and numerous employment opportunities, both on flew construction and in the permanent operation of the sanitarium, will be created. "The agreement between the state and the resort's owner, D. M. Taylor, provides for an outright purchase of $155,000 the proposed provision for a year's lease having been eliminated. Mr. Taylor expects to give possession soon after September 1st, the lease on some of the cottages expiring on that date. All personal property at Old Sweet Springs passes to the state except the furnishings which Mr. Taylor brought here for use in his own cottage, and the cattle being grazed on the farm. "The facilities are being surveyed this week by the State Board of Control engineers preparatory to drawing up plans for alterations, for renovation of some sections not ready for immediate occupancy, and for the construction of a boiler house from which steam will be piped to the various buildings for heating purposes. Final purchase by the state is now subject only to examination of the title and other legal details." It may be noted that there is a discrepancy of $5000 between the amount of money quoted in the Deed Book as being paid for the resort and what the Monroe Watchman reports. I t could be a typographical error. Unfortunately for the community, the operation of the Springs as a sanatorium was not successful. There seems to be no official reason for this, but one might guess that the valley in which the spring is located is much too damp for tubercular patients, or perhaps the reason was a lack of funds from which to run the two institutions for the same purpose. At any rate, the state legislature ordered the institution closed in 1943. It was opened again in 1945 as a guest home for old people of the State of West Virginia. It is being used today in this capacity. It is called the Andrew Rowan Memorial Home after the man who carried the message to Garcia during the Spanish-American war. It was opened to its first guest in July 1945. In 1947 an appropriation by the legislature enabled some improvements to be made on the grounds and buildings, but the biggest aid came in 1949 when the Jefferson Building was renovated. By the summer of 1952 there were about 400 guests there. Of these, approximately hall had aid from the Department of Public Assistance, thirty percent were mildly senile and eighteen percent came from the Welch or Fairmont Emergency Hospitals. About two percent paid their way. As can be seen, most of the guests came to Sweet Springs through the Department of Public Assistance and were completely provided for by the State. CHAPTER III Description of Old Sweet As stated previously, in the beginning the resort was nothing but a collection of log cabins. Even the old courthouse was used to house the guests. The grand hotel (the Jefferson Building) was built in 1839, but the real expansion did not begin until Oliver Beirne became the owner of the resort. His original idea, thwarted by the Civil War, was to make a semi-circle of buildings in the area, with the bathhouse somewhere near the center of it. He built five brick cottages in a semi-circle eastward from the Jefferson Building toward the Central Building which he also built and which was actually the last structure to be erected, He had planned to build another row of five cottages on the other side of the Central Building with a second great hotel completing the semi-circle. Thus, the Central Building would have really been the central structure of the semi-circle. Directly behind this building stood a brick building originally used as slave quarters but later as bachelor's quarters. Beyer's painting of Sweet Springs as published in 1857 gave a preview of Beirn's plan. The Beyer picture of the Old Sweet showed the semi-circle completed. It could well be that the the owner convinced Beyer that the plan was so far advanced that it would be best to show Sweet Springs as it would be in a few years. The brick bath house, built some time during this same period, is a rather formal looking building about two hundred yards from the main hotel, of quadrangular shape, with two high towers Graceful curved stairways led to upper rooms in these towers where the bath man and bath maid slept. Looking from the porch of the hotel, the ladies' entrance was on t he right and was made more exclusive by a boxwood hedge, and the gentlemen's on the left. A high brick wall divided the pool into two sections, As Late as 1890 guests were thrilled by the beauty and grandeur of the great hotel. Visitors, alighting from the stage, entered the west end of the hotel into a room covered with velvet carpeting and set with carved sofa and chairs. Draped damask hung from brass cornice. Up a few steps was a narrow corridor extending the entire length of the ground floor along which were shoeshine parlors, barber shops, flunkies' quarters and the like. The bar, which adjoined a large game room, was brick paved, with arched brick columns, and two hugs brick fireplaces in which cord-length logs glowed constantly. Here also were two very handsome billiard tables, comfortable settees, and chairs for men only. A winding stairway (since removed) just outside the ladies' reception room in the corridor lee to the next floor. The parlor, dining room, and lobby, occupying the entire upper floor, opened through deep hand-carved doorways onto the pillared porticos. Supper in the spacious dining room seating 1,000 was a stately affair. With great dignity the head waiter escorted one to his place. Crystal chandeliers and soft candlelight added charm to the diners. The balls, held in the ground ballroom were supposed to be among the finest anywhere in the South. At least one visitor regarded the ballroom itself as one of the three largest and most beautiful in the Old South. Music for the balls was furnished by a string band which sat on a raised dais at the upper end of the ballroom. Directly in front of this sat the chaperone "whose approval or frown decided your social status." Long mirrors reflected the dancers. The crystal chandeliers were made for candles, but were later wired for electricity. Across the hall that led to the ballroom was a lovely reception room in the center of which stood a mahogany table. On this table was a generous-sized punch bowl from which the guests regaled themselves at intervals during the dance. Abutting this room was a wide veranda, sheltered only by swaying branches of age-old trees. The bedrooms were furnished with old English chintz curtains, and the spool beds were sheeted with linen, dressers matched the beds, and the rooms were lighted by candles in brass candlesticks' or small glass lamps. Each room also had a chest of drawers and a rocking chair. The resort was operating again in 1867, but little is known of it until June 9, 1876, when the Border Watchman, the Monroe County newspaper, ran the following article clipped from the Richmond Whig: "The Old Sweet" - Among the many resorts in the mountains there is not a more pleasant or picturesque one than the famous "Old Sweet Springs." It is here that the elite withdraw from the bustle and jar and surfeit of the metropolitan "White," while for the pure employment of that quiet and repose which are so necessary in the recreation of tired or exhausted nature. The grounds, and waters, and baths at the Old Sweet are all famous, while its menus is (sic) celebrated for its excellence throughout the land. The scenery too is the most sublime in the entire range of the Blue Ridge. It is easy of access, being only ten miles of staging from Allegany Station, on the Chesapeake and Ohio road, and the very best people are always sure to be met with at this resort. Thus speaks the Richmond Whig, and we think it is about right." Two years later on July 7 the Border Watchman had this to say: "This justly celebrated summer resort was opened the 15th xxx under the supervision of the prince of caterers, Capt. Jno. H. Freeman. "The Sweet," in point of comfort and neatness in its appointments and arrangements, is equaled by few, & unsurpassed by none, of the various watering places. We are informed that there are now about fifty guests at "The Sweet," Thus, the flow of guests might be somewhat reduced by the late war, but the glory of "The Old Sweet" continued to attract those who could afford the luxury of the place. Indeed, Sweet Springs must have been the most comfortable of the resorts if we are to believe one writer who said that Sweet Springs was the only spring measuring up to comfort by Northern standards. Near the close of the season of 1877 one writer waxed somewhat poetic when he wrote: "Mr Editor: I cannot but wonder what ecstatic delight his (Sam'l Johnson) great soul would have felt during such a ride as I last week enjoyed from Second Creek to the Sweet Springs and back. Dinner over, we paid a visit to the Springs. Mr. Beirne did not seem in the least excited over our distinguished presence. Nevertheless, we rolled on this tenpin alley, admired his beautiful place, and felt thankful for a man who can devise and carry on a business that affords pleasure, employment, and profit to so many. Some forty summer swallows were still flitting about the grounds." By the 1880's most of the guests from the South came as far as Allegany Station by train and were met there by the stage from the hotel. Good stage horses were required from for the service and in 1881 Oliver Beirne placed t he following advertisement in the Border Watchman: "Notice-I wish to purchase 12 good stage horses, 15i to 16 hands, of good action, kind to harness, from six to seven years old for which I will pay a fair price in Cash, at the Sweet Springs, Monroe County, W. Va. There was no signature; one simply know it was Oliver Beirne. The Year following the purchase of Sweet Springs by the Lewises an electric light system was installed in June by John L. Livers of Woodstock, Virginia. Ed Zimmerman of Lewisburg was to be in charge of the plant. The system included not only the hotel but also the grounds and other buildings. Later that summer, a new steam laundry, complete with all attachments, was installed for the convenience of the guests. The first long distance telephone from Allegany Station to Sweet Springs was built at the same time. Undoubtedly, both the edition of electricity and a new laundry was meant to be an added inducement to guests, both to encourage more guests to visit the resort and an attempt to keep those who came. It was already hinted that the spas were not as popular as they once had been. The reason for the somewhat sudden decline of the resorts has been discussed to and fro by the experts for the last half century. Some blame it on the automobile, some on the Civil War, and some on improved sanitary conditions in the cities during the malaria season. All of these conditions probably had much to do with the decline of the spas. I do not believe that any one particular condition contributed completely to the demise of the resorts. Times have changed. Things move faster, more people go more places, but few stay very long at any one spot. The movies and more recently, 'television, have provided entertainment at home. Home is more comfortable even in the hot and humid summer. By the summer of 1906 West Virginians were dominating the hotel at Sweet Springs: "The Old Sweet Springs closed a most successful season. Up to the middle of August the Richmond colony was the most numerous but at that time the influx of West Virginians was so great that Charlestonians carried off the palm, for numbers and also proved the most lavish entertainers." Actually this notation is a little misleading. West Virginians and nearby Virginians had dominated the scene since the Civil War. The few remaining hotel registers of that period point up this fact. The following summer the Sweet Springs golf club was formed. It was a small course about nine holes- but those who can remember say it was a good one. The stockholders were C. C. Lewis, Jr., W. D. Payne, J. F. Bouchelle, Berkeley Minor, Jr., and C. A. Sullivan, all of Charleston. The capital stock was $1,000 and the corporation was to expire fifty years after the issuance of the certificate of corporation. The stock was divided into 500 shares with a par value of two dollars each. The club had a cafe and sold supplies to its members. The desperate effort to attract patrons continued well into the season of 1909. July 13, of that year, C. C. Lewis, Sr., general manager of the resort, wrote to one F. Zerban Brown of Philadelphia - possibly an insurance man: "There 1825 acres in the whole tract, something like half of it under cultivation. "The Grand Hotel is brick 263 feet long and 67 feet wide, dining room in same is 157 by 39 feet in the clear, ladies parlor and sitting room each 49 by 39 feet. Two ordinaries 55 by 12 feet, besides kitchen, bakery, closets etc., on the first floor with forty-six rooms for guests and six water closets and toilet rooms each. In the basement there are numerous rooms for Pool, Billiards, Bar etc. Adjoining and connected is a large Ball Room with twenty six rooms for guests. "The Central Building, brick, contains seventy two rooms, 3 rooms, three floors, and toilet and hot and cold baths on each floor for gentlemen and ladies. There are also five brick cottages containing eight to fourteen rooms each total fifty-six besides a number of frame cottages giving a total capacity of about 800 guests. Also one large three story brick and frame building of about the same size for servants with toilets, built last year. About $8,000 was invested last year in beds, bedding, silver etc. besides a new Gas Machine costing over $10,000, making a total of over $50,000 expended in the place last year; all of which including livery and everything to be included in the One Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Dollars." Note- Letter from the Lewis Collection, West Virginia University Library.) There seems to be no clear reason for this letter. Probably Lewis hoped to borrow money from Brown for improvements, or he might have been hoping to sell it to him. He might also have been interested in obtaining insurance on the resort. This letter seems to be the last description of the resort for many years. Because of the constant change of ownership and the rapid decline and final closing of the spa about 1928, D. M. Taylor found a staggering amount of repairs to be done when he purchased it in 1938. After extensive repairs to the resort, approximating $97,000, Taylor opened a tearoom about 1940 or 1941. Facilities at the time included swimming, croquet, badminton, and a rough golf course. Alterations included replacing the old wooden porch of the Jefferson Building with concrete, a bath with each room, changing the pool from wood to concrete but leaving the floor gravel as that is where the water rises, and elaborate redecoration of the ballroom to be used for special occasions. In the spring of 1942 the building and furnishings were valued by an insurance company at $67,000. (Note Personal interview with Thomas Taylor, son of D. M. Taylor, Roanoke, Va., July 1, 1952.) The Monroe Watchman on July 3, 1941 announced the opening of the resort in the following manner: "For the first time since 1928 the famous Old Sweet Springs is now open for the entertainment of overnight guests. For several years past the grill has been open each summer in the basement for serving meals, but sleeping quarters have not been available for visitors." Fred Taylor, a son of D. M. Taylor, owner of the famous old resort, was serving as manager. In a brief announcement t he stated: "The Old Sweet Springs will be open for a limited number of guests from July 3 until Labor Day. The swimming pool, a croquet, badminton and rough golf course are included privileges. "Sleeping quarters beautifully furnished with antique furniture, are available in the old ballroom building which has been divided into guest rooms and in four cottages. Meals will be served in the grillroom, of which Mrs. Annie Rumbold Thompson, a matron of Augusta Military Academy, is manager. "None of the remainder of the main building is open, However, except the reception room, which has been entirely redecorated. The floor of the great dining room has been smoothed and polished, and Mr. Taylor plans to use it for special occasions." However, the opening of the resort for a special season must have been Failure at least a resounding success, for on August 18, 1941, the Beckley Herald noted that the Old Sweet was to be sold. V Social Life at Sweet Springs In the early days, people visited the Sweet Springs for the purpose of drinking the waters. However, it soon became apparent that there was more to visiting the spring than drinking the health-giving waters. For once one was there, what was to stop you from gambling, drinking liquors, cavorting about with one or more of the beautiful, if unhealthy, damsels there, and generally making merry? The ample and tasty fare at the Sweet Springs, like the other spas was one of the main recommendations of the place. Laurence Butler in 1791 commented that he did not think the accommodations were as good at the Sweet Springs as at the Hotel de York in Paris (perhaps in jest), but that there was "plenty of good eating." (Note-Laurence Butler letter to a friend April 25, 1791.) There are no specific records as t o the kind of foods served at Sweet Springs in those early days, but one can imagine that it was very much the Same as that served at White Sulphur Springs and the other leading resorts. In the early fall of 1794 there came to Sweet Springs one James McHenry, a physician and personal friend of George Washington. McHenry, also something of a geologist, took a dim view of most of the goings on at the Springs, and he left for us an excellent picture of the eating hours of the guests: "Then comes breakfast about eight o'clock after having kept the appetite on the rack for an hour before. About eleven o'clock you review your potion of water (the first drink came at seven in the morning); make little riding or walking excursions, visit Beaver Dam, or sit on benches or chat till Three o'clock when everyone is anxious to hear a loud blow which is the summons to dinner. From six to eight o'clock there is a little more water drinking after those who chose(sic) coffee, tea, bread and milk or rye must eat supper, and in a general way thus begins, proceeds and closes the dismal occupations of the Sweet Springs." This is an interesting comparison to the eating hours of the resort in the late nineteenth century. A list published in a petty ledger for guests dated 1872, states the dining hours as follows: Breakfast, 7 to 10 AM; Dinner, 2 to 4 PM; and Tea, 7 to 9 PM. Children and servants were served at seven, one and six. Guests having friends to dine were to notify the office beforehand and meals or lunches served in rooms, or taken from the table, were charged extra. It was also noted that any inattention of the servants would be promptly remedied if reported to the steward. The meals in the early days of the Springs probably were fairly simple. Breakfast may have consisted of a meat, bread of some kind, probably hot, and a beverage. The big meal of the day consisted of several kinds of meat, such as venison, mutton, beef or pork, and whatever vegetables may have been in season at the time. It seems doubtful at this period that there was a farm solely devoted to the raising of vegetables for the guests. However, as the fame and prestige of the resort grew so did its menu. For one thing, a farm was instituted for the sole purpose of supplying the guests and the hotel employees with a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables such as only the mountain could produce in the hot summer weather. Rich pastries and an almost complete list of liquors added a final touch to the grandeur of spa living. Wines and other liquors early became a part of the daily routine of living at the resort. In fact, there were some like the theologian, Archibald Alexander, who thought that all some of the guests did was drink intoxicating spirits; There is no remaining evidence of the adequacy of the hotel wine cellar during the early days, but at least one list remains from the later period. The hotel was opened for the first time following the Civil War in 1868 and the list of liquors printed for the guests of that year was probably a new one since it was not likely that there was anything left from the years before the war. (Note-This list is found pasted to the back of a Blotter for 1868 in West Virginia University Library.) (I don't think it is important enough to take space for the wine list.) The known records of Sweet Springs are few and far between for the first fifty years of its operation. I have been able to locate only one record book for that entire period and that bears the date June 1843. It is not by any means a complete record, but it does serve to remind us of the prices of some of the following items: Venison 2 1/2c per lb. Butter 10¢ per lb. Eggs 6 ¼c per doz. 1 Pheasant 13c whole 2 Turkeys 1.00 whole honey 8 to 100 8 ducks 1.00 Prices varied. For instance, in July venison sold for 2 1/2c per pound and in August for 40 per pound. The number of guests at the hotel might have had something to do with the price. The more guests the higher the management paid for the meat because there was less chance of its spoiling. August was the peak month for visitor. The main course of meat was either a wild meat, such as venison, turkey, pheasant, or local domesticated meats such as chicken and ducks. (Note - Sweet Springs Cash Book, June to September 1843, found in the hotel at Salt Sulphur Springs, Monroe County.) Beef was also important and near the turn of the century caviar was imported However vague the records, the food itself must have been pretty good because at least one guest wrote that "We found an abundance of clean and good provisions, venison, mutton, good bread and butter, and excellent milk; the pastry was also good and abundant." (Note- Featherstonhaugh, G. W., "Excursion Through The Slave States", Reniers Collection.) Any indications of the costs of living at Sweet Springs are also vague. The amount of board and room one paid must have been set according to the amount of money or influence the guest could muster__ because some paid $1.72 per day, and some $2.00, and some as low as $1.50 per day. One man even paid $1.50 for two days' board. This price included meals and room. It is also possible that these prices varied because of the different types of rooms provided. In fact, the only set price at Sweet Springs seemed to be the bath. It remained 25 c from the earliest records until the resort closed. The monthly bills varied, too. One woman paid $100.00 per month while another paid $150.00. Still a third paid only $50.00 for the same thirty-day period. Some of the difference may also have been because of the size of the family in question. The guest books merely list "Mr. and Family," seldom mentioning the number in the family. Children, of course, cost half price in nearly everything. Servants also were half price. With all this variation in board it is interesting to note that in at-least one journal the statement was made that board per day would be $3.00, per month $75.00, for more months, $60.00 per month. Laundry in the early days and as late as the turn of the century was done by the hotel help by band. It could be priced anywhere from 50 c to $4.00. The cost of laundry varied, too. Sometimes it cost more to have one piece done than it did to do a whole laundry. This was probably due to the difficulty of it more than to the amount. The resort was closed during the Civil War but reopened in 1867. On September 4 1867, General Robert E. Lee is quoted as having a washing done for 35 cents. This is probably true since he was known to have visited the Springs regularly for a few years following the war. He made his headquarters at White Sulphur and toured the nearby springs at which he was wined and dined. There is no record of his paying any board at Sweet Springs. He probably did not since other Confederate leaders who came to the Springs did not. Lee seemed to have been fond of Beaver Dam Falls, about four miles east of Sweet Springs, which he visited regularly and which a young lady artist sent him a sketch. From time to time the hotel made inventories of most of the items used for the convenience of the guests. However, no existing list is complete. The information does give one an idea of what the hotel had. A Blotter for the 1868 lists the number of chairs in the hotel as 1692 and broke them down into the following kinds: Split 965, Windsor 353, Cain(sic) 320, Cushioned 54. An account book for 1871 gives the hotel credit for the following items: Table spoons 18, Large and small knives 47, Forks 30, Salt spoons 8, Sugar Spoon 1, Sugar tongs 2, Sugar bowls 2, Butter knives 4, Mustard spoons 5, Syrup pitchers 3, Cream pitchers 3, Cups and saucers 18, Plates and dishes of assorted sizes 157, China candle-sticks 3, Dust pan 1, Goblets 32, Finger bowls 6, Several water jars, butler stands, ice bowls, trays, etc. This could not possibly have been a complete list of the hotel tableware since any resort the size of Sweet Strings is bound to have more than 18 cups and saucers or 30 forks. However, a tableware inventory of 1909 is more complete and even adds: Napkins 200, Side towels 50, New kitchen hand towels 35, New dish towels 25, Glass towels 24, It also offers a list of all the new silver in the resort: Knives 16 doz., Forks 15 doz. and 6, Table spoons 18 doz. and 8, Teaspoons 29 doz., Ice teaspoons 7 doz., Sugar spoons 2 doz. and 7, After dinner spoons 3 doz. and 1, Sugar tongs 2 doz., Fruit knives 2 doz. and 9, Nut picks 2 doz. and 9, Nut crackers 2 doz. and 2, Butter knives 5, A list of old silver included 105 forks, 53 knives, 74 tablespoons, 5 teaspoons, 7 butter knives, 3 nut crackers, and 12 dozen unused new cheap silver teaspoons. Likewise, and inventory of the Ladies' Bathhouse would seem to be incomplete since it lists only 13 looking glasses, 2 glass tumblers, 29 reams of water closet paper, 1 broom and 1 bucket. A survey of the gentlemen's bathhouse produced almost the same results with the addition of 7 combs and 5 hairbrushes. The most plausible explanation for this incompleteness would be that the guests preferred to carry their own paraphernalia. The children either had a dining room of their own, or a portion of the 1. Large dining room was designated for them because an inventory of the same year 1909 lists the following items found in "closet in Children's Dining Room." Water bottles 21, Sugar bowls 49, Small hand trays 17, Large Butler's trays 24, Crum pans 19, Racks 24, Tables 34, Chairs 160, Finger bowls 24, Pepper 50, Oil and vinegar 17, Water glasses 15 doz., Ice tea glasses 2 doz., Crumb knives 12, Vases about 32, Crumb brushes 19, Salt cruets 50, Ice Bowls 2, Hair brooms 2. There were 100 slips, 100 sheets, and 100 towels bought in 1907 for the hotel. At the same time they bought from Miller and Rhoads in Richmond 18 gray blankets, 2 bolts of toweling for glasses, and 3 pieces of unbleached linen. The employees were paid various amounts with the cook and the bartender commanding the best salaries. The cook received 248 for three months and three days while the bartender received $145 for two months and twenty-seven days. The lowest was the parlor maid who received $33 for three months and nine days. They were permitted to take their wages out in merchandise at the hotel and many of them never receive any cash at all because they spent it all before they got it. One of the most interesting stories told during the late 1880's and 1890's concerns a Negro caterer and bartender, J. Dabney. It seems that he made the best mint julep to be found any place in the South and had a cup given him by the Prince of Wales to prove it. This same man also was in the process of buying himself free when the Civil War broke out. When the war was over he refused to admit his freedom until he had sent a wagon load of household goods and food to his former mistress to pay for the remainder of his freedom. He never permitted anyone to see his cooking operations. (Note: Personal interviews with Miss Rose Caperton aid S. C. Craig in July 1952). During the same period it was reported that one or two beeves under three years old were killed each week and fifteen to 20 sheep per week for the plates of the guests at the resort. Cooking was done by wood on six fire ranges. The resort also put up its own ice. There were apparently five ice houses, one on top of the ground, and four that were in the ground. There was always a great deal of baking done at the resort and nearly every inventory, no matter how incomplete, listed quantities of powdered, granulated and brown sugar. All sort of fruits such as apples, raisins, lemons, cherries and others were to be found there. Also extracts, coconut, flour and all the other ingredients that go into baking. During the peak years of resort visiting before the Civil War the old Sweet played host to as many as 3,000 guests at one time. Of course, not so many people were able to come after the war, but those who could responded to the advertisements in the papers. On August 25, 1876, Oliver Beirne paid by c heck the grand sum of $151.40 for advertising in seven different newspapers. They w ere the Charleston Hews and Courier, Savannah News, Cincinnati, Gazette, Richmond Enquire r, Richmond Whig, Norfolk Virginian, and the Richmond Dispatch. There was also much advertising in the very late stages of the resort's operations. In 1923 a list gives at least ten advertising media; The Daily News and Advance Lynchburg; a display advertisement in a Hew Orleans newspaper; The News-Leader, Richmond; Daily Gazette Company, Charleston; Huntington Herald Company; Times, Roanoke; Globe-Democrat; St. Louis; Virginia and Pilot Publishing Company; Where to Go Bureau, Inc., Boston; and the Times, Washington. The June of that year 2,000 pamphlets of 12 pages each were bought for $84 for distribution to the guests. (Note: Papers of C. H. Paxton 1923, West Virginia University Library.) What did the guests do for amusement? In the beginning there was a little besides eating and drinking, card playing, and a little dancing. At least one early guest complained that none of these efforts afforded him any joy. "Why there are none (amusements) here unless card parties are considered of this class. I have heard of an assembly it is true, but dancing to no music or bad music can hardly be called an amusement. One may occupy themselves however in various ways. First in drinking the water, and next in riding or walking to get good (?) of it." (Note: James McHenry. Letters to his wife, August 1794.) This gentleman may have been disgruntled because his family was not with him as he constantly reminded his wife in his letters that nothing afforded him joy if she was not with him. However, another gentleman of a few years earlier wrote to a friend that: "We had a good deal of Genteel Company from the different parts of the Continent and some from the West Indies. (Considering how far it lies in amongst the mountains) we had a regular ball every week, besides Tea parties. Our accommodations I can't say was so good as we had at Hotel de York in Paris, as there was only one Inn, and upwards of Two hundred people besides the servants to accommodate, tho' I can't say but we had plenty of good Eating, notwithstanding we had great appetites which the waters Created." (Note: Butler, letter) But even James McHenry admitted that the food was good and accommodations were not bad. He mentioned that the men dined at the common table in the dining room while the ladies took their meals in their huts or rooms. McHenry must have had a strong sense of humor because he mentioned the sermon of a preacher against dancing and card playing and then told how the men rushed out to the gaming table after church, and the ladies chose their partners. In the meantime, the only fiddler at the resort had been converted to Methodism. That had a considerable deadening effect on the assemblies at Sweet Springs. In one of these letters to his wife, McHenry regaled her with tales of inscriptions and initials he found on the cabin walls, doors and chairs. He didn't mention any by name, but they were names of former occupants of the cabins and the dates of their arrival and departure. Some were carved "in Roman and some in Italian (sic) characters with much apparent labor and pen-knife ingenuity." He said he knew some of them but feared the whole group would be lost to posterity because the wood they were carved in would decay. At that he didn't find any names of lovers. Fourteen years after the above letters were written another guest wrote in almost the same words: "There were accommodations here for two hundred persons; families are provided with cabins of two, three or four rooms with furniture, individuals with log houses, roomy or crowded, according to the increase of the company, and all that are able, meet at the public table, to a plentiful breakfast, dinner and supper where there is a little appearance of ill health or want of appetite, in the majority. Wine is seldom introduced; music and dancing frequently crown the evening, and cards are resorted to, by many, more to pass time than through a spirit of gaming, although there are professed gamblers, at this place, who have set up Pharo Bank, but must starve for want of trade, unless they meet more encouragement than the present water drinking folks seem inclined to give them. We have neither church nor clergyman within miles, but have been favored this day, Sunday, with a sermon by one of our party. The composition was plain, correct and well delivered, and the audience attentive and apparently edified." (Note: John E. Caldwell, "A Tour Through Part of Virginia in the Summer of 1008", p. 25.) Later from the same man, "The charge for boarding is seven dollar per day for each horse; this is extravagantly high for the latter, as hay, oats and corn are remarkably low." "Again,"....and you may frequently purchase venison at one cent, beef and mutton at three cents, per lb. and chickens at six cents per pair; of fish the supply is small." The kind of amusements one enjoyed probably was due to what the patient had come to the springs for - some came as invalids, some as socialites and some as nurses for the invalids. Of this latter group one person wrote: "This is about one of the dullest places I ever was in the first two days we spent here I felt perfectly homesick. She was pleased to admit, however, that she was getting used to it and was glad to see that "Be was getting better. Then she deplored the circumstances which send poor invalids to "these comfortless spas." In face, it seems that poor Miss Van Lew's only source of entertainment were the fleas which she attempted to exterminate as they could be seen "in great glee jumping about the floor in a style that seemed to set human nature in defiance." (Note: Elizabeth Van Lew, letter to Charles I. Richards, August 1839.) One thing all the spas had in common was lack of space. Guests complained about cramped living quarters, but worse than that were the conditions in the dining room. Mark Pencil, a celebrated writer of his day, wrote: "We made our first appearance at dinner, where over two hundred persons were struggling for elbow room at two tables only large enough for half that number. We were so fortunate as to be seated near a celebrated caterer, who having a dozen servants in his pay, he was liberal enough to supply all his friends in his vicinity. We had air during dinner, from the many fans suspended above, and which were kept constantly in motion," (Note: Mark Pencil; The White Sulphur Papers, p. 4.8. The real name for Mark Pencil is not known.) Guests often complained when they had to stay at the Red Sweet (now Sweet Chalybeate) about one mile east of Sweet Springs. The resort for all its pretensions and new buildings still did not have enough room. In 1859 there are 2,752 guests divided among the three months of the season with the bulk of them coming in late July and August. The season officially opened June 15 and closed about Sept. 20. There were always a few stragglers until the first of October. Sweet Springs did not lose much of its popularity until the 1920's. However, the beginning of Old Sweet's decline came much earlier. The Civil War devastated the entire South and made sojourns to the spas impossible. The only people left to visit were a few local people who could count on receiving cut rates at the springs anyway and wealthy Northerners who wanted something new to do. These people kept the Springs alive for a number of years. In fact, as late as 1920 there were more than 650 guests. But the decline was sharp after 1920. There were dances, picnics, riding and driving, and bowling. In the late period of the resort there was even a golf course in hopes of reviving the waning spirit of the spas. Of course, there was always bathing and drinking. Perhaps the most important of all these was dancing. I have already discussed this pleasure in the early period, but the heyday and the decline of the era marked much more of its than the beginning era had ever dreamed of. There are no records of the period before the Civil War, but if the period following it is any example, there was at least one big dance a week and several fancy masked balls a season. Some of these were called the "Powdered Ball" because all the men wore wigs and costumes and the women put their hair up and powdered it. (Note: Miss Rose Caperton, Personal Interview July 1952) The band was likely to strike up at any hour, and eleven o'clock seemed as good a time as any to the resort managers. Therefore, every morning at 11 a band of eleven members played for the entertainment of guests strolling about the lawn. The same thing was repeated at two-thirty and six o'clock. The evening dances began at eight-thirty. The musicians must have well earned their pay. The bowling alley and tennis became popular during the last part of the last century. The two bowling alleys, location uncertain, were covered with zig zag lattice work for walls and roof. Riding and driving were popular, too, The women carried parasols while driving late in the afternoon. It was sensible not to go out in the heart of the day. It was bad for the complexion of the peaches-and-cream Virginia belles. It did the health no good either because of the strong possibility of sun stroke. Riding was good exercise if taken moderately and, of course, in a sidesaddle for the women. Divided skirts were long in coming into this beautiful valley. The most athletic sometimes undertook to ride to White Sulphur and back the next day. Where did they ride and drive? Mostly to Beaver Dam Falls, a favorite picnic area about four miles from Sweet Springs. Some might venture toward Gap Mills and the Lewis Place where the horses were quartered during the winter. Mr. S. C. Craig tells of his enjoyment at seeing the horses running down the road in the spring after wintering in the stables of the Lewis Place about fourteen miles west of Sweet Springs. The price of horses and vehicles were like all others at Sweet Springs - unstable. Saddle horses unusually were $1.50 an hour, but a carriage or cart could be from fifty cents to two dollars for an undetermined time, The guest list at Sweet Springs probably included many important and well-known persons. There are no records left to indicate exactly who they were, but in all probability the same important personages who visited the other spas came to Sweet Springs. These included President Martin Van Buren, President John Taylor Henry Clay, the Bonaparte family, and others of whom we can only guess. Following the Civil War many of the Confederate leaders, particularly the military, visited Sweet Springs. Of course, they were never charged. Among these distinguished guests were Generals Robert E. Lee, John Echols, P. G. T; Beauregard and members of the Robert Tombs family. Andrew S. Rowan, a native of Gap Mills, made a dashing swain among the belles as he danced and capered in the dashing manner of a West Pointer. All the distinguished Monroe Countians, such as the Capertons, Beirnes, Porcher Miles, and others came to the resort as the days became hotter. After the Civil War sports at the Sweet Springs became more varied. In the old days one had pretty much contented himself with riding and dancing, but the last half of the century presented a much more active picture. The old sports were continued and to them were added organized play such as track meets, including the high jump, broad jump, hurdle race, IMO yard dash, and throwing the hammer. Right after the turn of the century a golf course was added to entice the guests. Tennis became popular. (Note: Sweet Springs Account Book for August 1886, given by D. M. Taylor of Roanoke, Va., to the University of Virginia.) But even the new improvements failed to keep the interest of a faster moving population, and by the end of World War I the days of the resorts were drawing rapidly to a close. CHAPTER V Travel to Sweet Springs Travel to and from the Springs was never comfortable and even though some people complained of it, they continued to arrive every June. In the early days a guest would arrive in his own carriage or on horseback. There were a few public coaches but they were uncertain and undependable. Of course, the mail stage operated and in 1800 the route which had hitherto been from Staunton to Bath Court House, to Sweet Springs to Greenbrier (Lewisburg) Courthouse was changed to include Monroe Court House at Union in the route from Sweet Springs to Greenbrier Court House. By 1829 the local newspapers in Lewisburg had begun to carry such announcements as the following: The Stage will hereafter run twice each week to and from Flukes, where it connects with the line from Lynchburg to Nashville, to c (?) and Lewisburg, where it will connect with Porter's Line of coaches, which run to the Ohio River." (Note: Palladium of Virginia and the Pacific Monitor, May 23, 1829). The fare from Lewisburg to Flukes by way of Sweet Springs was *5.00. Each passenger was allowed twenty pounds of luggage free and all over that was three cents a pound per 100 miles. The editor of the Lewisburg Newspaper, the Palladium, Mr. J. F. Caldwell, made the following interesting observation for the benefit of his readers: Those who first register their names at the places where the stage stops, shall have the preference. There will be good and careful drivers and the best horses in Virginia." During the height of the season the local stage also ran every Tuesday and Wednesday from Lewis burg to Sweet Springs by way of White Sulphur for the convenience of faraway visitors and residents of the vicinity-who might desire to visit the Springs one day and return the next. On Fridays guests could leave Lewisburg and visit Salt Sulphur Springs, returning to Sweet Springs on Saturday evening and back to Lewisburg the same way on Monday evening. Thus, if Junior wanted to remain at Salt Sulphur to play, he could be left there on Saturday and be picked up the following Monday. For guests who had friends on the other side of Peters Mountain, the stage left Sweet Springs on Wednesday and Sunday mornings and arrived in Fincastle on the same days; arrived at Fluke's the next day and left there every Monday and Friday by three o'clock to arrive at Sweet Springs by the evenings of Tuesday and Saturday. (Note: Ibid. June 19, 1829. During the off season there were only two stages per week to the Sweet Springs and Union.) There soon developed two particular ways to reach the Springs from Richmond by stage. If the traveler wished to stop at Warm or Hot Springs, he would undoubtedly come from Richmond by way of Charlottesville and then to Staunton. (Note: Tanner, H. S., "A Geographical, Historical and Statistical View of the Central or Middle United States,p. 436.) From Staunton one rocked and swayed seventeen miles to Jennings Gap and over the mountains to Warm Springs. By this time even the five miles from Warm Springs to Hot Springs must have seemed an eternity. At last the traveler reached Callaghan's, a distance of some twenty-two miles from Hot Springs, but only sixteen miles from White Sulphur. The seventeen miles from White Sulphur to the Sweet were the easiest. Not only was the journey near its end but there were no more infernal mountains to cross and the road was smooth to the aching back and the view pleasant to the eye. For those going directly to Sweet Springs they could change stages at Crows, about eight miles from White Sulphur, and drive directly to Sweet Springs. However, if the traveler wished to come directly from Richmond to Sweet Springs, he could travel from Richmond to Lynchburg some 132 miles, and from there to Sweet Springs by way of Lexington and Covington, a distance of 119 miles, making the whole journey 251 miles, This route was twenty-three miles longer than the "Springs" route. (Note: Nearly everyone went first to White Sulphur and then made a circle by way of Lewisburg, Red Sulphur, Salt Sulphur and ended the summer at Sweet Springs.) By 1859 when Dr. Moorman included a travel guide to the Springs in his book on the waters, Staunton had become the converging point for visitors to the White Sulphur and other springs in that area of which Sweet Springs was one. From Washington the traveler could go by steamboat to Alexandria, to Staunton. One alternate route from Washington went to Aquia Creek by steamboat and then by rail to Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville and Staunton. Another sent the guest to Harper's Ferry and Winchester by rail and by stage from Winchester to Harrisonburg to Staunton. From Staunton one followed the previously mentioned stage route over the mountains to the Springs. From Baltimore the route was by steamboat as far as Port Walthall where a railroad carried the passengers to Richmond where they took the Central Railroad to Staunton. If the guest chose, he could leave Richmond and go by Lynchburg by the South Side Rail-road. Forty-seven miles further at Bonsack's the stage carried him on his journey to Sweet and White Sulphur Springs. If one preferred water travel, he could journey from Richmond to Lynchburg by canal boat and then to Natural Bridge by the same method. From Natural Bridge it was, necessary to take the stage to White Sulphur. Visitors from the Deep South usually came to Knoxville, Tennessee, by rail or stage. The railroad also took them to Newborn where they prepared for the last lap of the journey by stage. The first stop here was Red Sulphur Springs then Salt Sulphur Springs, Union and Sweet Springs. Missing one newspaper (June 9, 1960) One may wonder why the Spring was called the "Sweet Spring." Nearly all of the letter writers marvel at this since the water had a slightly acidulous taste. The caretaker of the bath house, Jean Delorne, fascinated at least one writer who wrote that his politeness, age, and simplicity excited the interest. He was one of a number of French immigrants who arrived in the United States in 1791 intending to settle on the Scioto. Somehow Jean never made it. During the fashionable season he made from $80.00 to $100.00 which kept him during the other months of the year. Another writer, Mark Pencil, a habitué of the Springs, describes the spring at Sweet Springs as follows: "The spring is under the piazza of the bath house, the water rises in a cylindrical reservoir. It is sparkling and exhilarating, and has a piquant acidulous taste, something like soda water that has been left standing. The temperature' of the water is 73 degrees, Fahrenheit, and contains sulphate of magnesia, muriate of soda, and Sulphate of soda, carbonate of magnesia, carbonate of lime, with traces of iron and silaceous matter, free carbonic acid, bicarbonate of soda, and carbonic acid gas, the excess of the carbonic acid gives the waters a great briskness. The stream is very copious and supplies the two extensive baths in the adjoining building, which are reserved for the different sexes. The gentlemen's bath is in a quadrangular form of five feet in depth and surrounded by a wall with an opening at the top; the water is continually flowing off. Upon first entering the bath you receive a slight shock; and in another moment, the most delightful sensations come over you. The water is soft and unctuous to the body, and it stimulates powerfully the action of the skin, being of a tonic nature, improving its functions and exciting the activity of-the absorbent system. The carbonic acid gas is seen bubbling up, in little globules, on the surface of the water. "We were not recommended to remain in the bath longer than three minutes at first; but we heard of two persons, the day before, having remained in the other bath over an hour. At some of the baths in Switzerland, which have not a very high temperature, the patients pass 6 and 8 hours a day in the water." There are many descriptions of the springs and the bathhouse. However, inasmuch as the descriptions are all very much the same it is probably best to make a compilation of them. The water rose in a large cylindrical reservoir, from opposite sides of which it flowed out by small pipes, sending water into the men's and women's baths. The men's bath was quadrangular in form, surrounded by a wall and with an open top. It was clear, and the water flowed constantly in and out after it reached a certain height. The bottom of the pool was gravel. One of the springs, situated apart from the others, rose in a cistern in the center of a piazza that ran across the front of the bathhouse, and it alone was utilized as the drinking water supply. There were also warm and hot steam baths of both mineral and free-stone water. The temperature of the spring always was 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Comparison between this spring and the Bristol Hot Well in England reveals that they both contained a certain amount of carbonic acid, and earthy and saline matters, but the Virginia spring contains iron, whereas there was none in the English spring. (Note: Cowan, Robert, "A Guide to the Virginia Springs", p.33). This water was serviceable in dyspepsia, dysentery, diarrhea, cough, and all calculous and nephritic complaints. It was also good for anemia, hysteria, old age and almost anything else you could name. Dr. Moorman added to this: "Females who have become enervated by long confinement, or from nursing their children, and whose constitutions have suffered for want of exercise and fresh air, will be benefited by the use of these waters, internally and as a bath." But, he warned his patients: "The bath is unsuited to the paralytic, and should be avoid by those in whom apoplectic tendencies are threatening." Sweet Springs, like all the other spas, was analyzed by many interested people, A list of some of the more important analyses follows: Temperature: 73 degrees Fahrenheit Analysis of Rowelle (one qt. of Sweet Springs water.) Saline Substances in general 12-24 grains Earthy Substances 18-24 grains Iron -1 grain The saline substances are sulphate of magnesia, aureate of soda, and muriate of lime, with a little sulphate of lime. The earthy matter consists of sulphate of lime, a small portion of carbonate of magnesia, and lime, with a small portion of siliceous earth. Professor William B. Rogers of the University of Virginia, gives this report: 1st. Solid matter procured by evaporation from one hundred cubic inches, 32.67. A portion of this is combined with water. 2nd. Quantity of each solid ingredient, estimated as perfectly free from water, in one hundred cubic inches: Sulphate of lime 5,703 Sulphate of magnesia 4.067 Sulphate of soda 2.746 Carbonate of lime 13.013 Chloride of sodium 0.060 Chloride of magnesium'0.136 Chloride of calcium 01065 Peroxide-of iron (Sesquioxide) 01061 Silica 0.075 Earthy phosphate a trace 3rd. Volume of each of the gases contained in a free state in one hundred cubic inches of water: Carbonic acid 37.17 Nitrogen l.86 Oxygen a trace Sulphuretted hydrogen a trace too small to be measured. 4th. Composition of one hundred cubic inches of the mixed gases rising in bubbles in the springs: Nitrogen 71.7 Carbonic acid 28.3 Dr. Moorman in his book on the Virginia springs reported on Sweet Springs water thus: "The chief distinguishing feature of this water is the predominance of the carbonic acid (fixed air) which it contains, and it is properly regarded as the best example of the acidulous waters that is found in our country. The name is calculated to convey erroneous impressions of their taste, which is like a solution of a small quantity of a calcareous magnesium carbonate. The excess of carbonic acid gives, however, the water a briskness, productive of a very different effect on the palate from what an imperfect mixture of the earths would produce. Here is a more modern analysis prepared by Homer A. Hoskins of the West Virginia Geological Survey, parts per million: Solids after evaporation 813.0 Ignition loss 111,0 Silica (SiO2) 18.0 Ferric oxide and Alumina (Fe, Al) 203 1.1 Calcium (Ca) 298.0 Magnesium (Mg) 58.0 Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) 36.0 Bicarbonate (HCO3) 715.0 Sulfate (SO4) 435.0 Chloride CI) 214.0 Nitrate (NO3) none Manganese (Mn) none Hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) none Carbon dioxide (CO2) present Total of determined constituents 1588.1 Geological formation Stones, River Limestone. Elevation 2030. (Date observed 6-3-1935.) Sweet Springs has changed much since the first person found the water so soothing. Aside from the White, it was the grandest spa in West Virginia. Its buildings stand today as a monument to an age of opulence and gracious living. It sits surrounded by mountains and a lush green carpet of grass, suggesting the gaiety of its youth, the wise experience of its decadent middle age, and I m serenely confident of its useful old age. End.