1928 - Alderson High School - 1968




More On Blue Sulphur Springs

October 5, 2015

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 shape.


Blue Sulphur 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 health.

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 ground.

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. Joseph Lineberry.

Next: A Horse Named Traveller

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