The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Salt Sulphur Springs

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Old hotel at Salt Sulphur Springs
Remaining spring pavilions

Like many other "healing" or mineral springs in antebellum Virginia (now including West Virginia), the Salt Sulphur Spring at Salt Sulphur Springs, WV, in central Monroe County near Union, WV, was a health resort. Wealthy Southerners would retire to the springs in summer to escape the heat of the Tidewater and Piedmont lowlands of Virginia and the Carolinas. Three springs bubble up beneath gazebos on the property -- the sweet spring, salt spring, and iodine spring. Visitors expected that ingesting and bathing in the water could cure or aleviate many ailments, though a stay at the springs was primarily a social event. Opened as a resort in 1820, the resort soon became a fashionable resort, and its expansive stone hotel, which still stands, was built in 1836. Presidents Martin Van Buren and John C. Calhoun and U.S. statesman Henry Clay were among the resort's prominent guests. During the Civil, War, General Albert G. Jenkins and other Confederate officers established a headquarters here.

Other famous mineral springs nearby included Sweet Springs, Blue Sulphur Springs, and White Sulphur Springs. Only the latter, now centerpiece of The Greenbrier, survived the economic downturns of the Civil War.

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