This story and
photo is from a book entitled "The Mountains
Speak", by Edwin Ott. It was published in 1969
by Fairlea Print Shop, Fairlea, West Virginia.
Assuming the photo was taken at approximately
the same time, the old "Blue" was in better
Springs is located on Route 31, thirteen miles
from the county seat of Lewisburg. The spa has
had a long history of glory and decline. On
March 17, 1789, James Patterson received a
patent for Blue Sulphur.
Knowledge of the spring actually dates back into
the earliest history of the state, when the area
was at first known as the "lick," attracting
herds of deer and buffalo in search of mineral
salts. It was soon discovered that the Sulphur
water has a salutary effect upon the human
drinker of the liquid. Soon the water was
examined by scientists, who pronounced it worthy
of attention by those desiring to better their
In 1834 a charter of incorporation was granted
by The General Assembly of Virginia. A hotel was
then built at Blue Sulphur Springs, from bricks
manufactured on the spot. The hotel was 180 feet
long, three stories high, with a 109-foot wing
at each end. Piazzas ran the entire length of
the wings, sheltering the ill from inclement
weather. For a rush of patrons had arrived as
soon as the spa opened to the public. The resort
seems to have been popular for several decades,
but at last fell on evil days.
When patronage declined at the hotel and revenue
became too low, the complex was sold for $44,
000 to the Baptists of Virginia and converted
into a school, Allegheny College, which opened
in October 1860 with 130 students.
In 1861 Allegheny College came to an end, and
the buildings were then used by Confederate
soldiers after the Battle of Droop Mountain.
During the winter of 1863 General John Echols
and his men wintered at this location. The year
before, 100 members of the Georgia Regiment were
brought to the hotel to recuperate from wounds
and sickness. The entire 100 men soon fell ill,
however, of a mysterious disease which killed
every one of them. The bodies are buried on a
hill behind the spa.
Later the Federals occupied the watering-place
for awhile and then in 1864 burned it all to the
The buildings now to be seen at Blue Sulphur
Springs are of relatively recent origin,
according to Mrs. Mary F. Keeney, newspaperwoman
and historian, of Rupert, who owned the spa from
1962 to 1967. The house presently on the
property was built in 1908 for Captain A. M.
Buster, and a barn near the house has a
construction date of 1910. The spring house is
not original, but was built to replace the old
one destroyed sometime in the past. Present
owners of Blue Sulphur Springs are Mr. and Mrs.
A Horse Named Traveller