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ISBN-13: 979-8-9889020-4-1
Pages: 120
Trim: 8.5×11
Format: Paperback

Red Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

A Nineteenth Century Health Spa in the Allegheny Foreland
Fred Ziegler

Red Sulphur Springs was part of a social phenomenon centered in the nineteenth century and shared by over one hundred similar health and entertainment watering places in the borderland mountains of the Virginias. Today, just two remain in business: The Greenbrier of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and The Homestead of Hot Springs, Virginia. These mineral springs varied in composition as well as their purported cures. Red Sulphur Springs specialized in tuberculosis, which in those days was called consumption.

A cast of characters owned “The Red” – from pioneer Nicholas Harvey who erected a set of log cabins on the site in 1795, to polymath William Burke who built the cottage rows in the 1830s and wrote very entertaining books about the experience, to local farmer Addison Dunlap and brothers who ran it during the heyday of the mid-century, to U.S. Vice President Levi P. Morton who applied his wealth to the resort and its neighborhood for a number of improvements from the 1890s well into the 1910s.

For the time traveler, this book is well-illustrated with vintage photographs, event tables to document each stage in development, and period newspaper articles and advertisements. In addition to the history of ownership of the springs, it covers the effect of both epidemic and business cycles in the mountains of rural West Virginia, the evolution of transportation prior to the railroad for visitors who traveled hundreds of miles, as well as the earth science behind the various minerals that find their way to the surface springs.


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About the Author

Alfred “Fred” Ziegler retired in 20032 from teaching and researching Historical Geology and Paleogeography after 37 years at the University of Chicago. He sponsored The Paleogeographic Atlas Project which produced many scientific studies on reconstructing the geography and biogeography of the earth for various stages in its long history. Then he moved to West Virginia where he and his wife Barbara bought “Cooks Old Mill,” established in the 1770’s by Valentine Cook in what would later become Greenville, West Virginia. Fred found himself in the middle of some very interesting local history and changed gears from millions to hundreds of years and began writing books: The Carriages of Monroe, The Settlement of the Greater Greenbrier Valley, and John Campbell Miller, Builder of Fancy Homes in Rural West Virginia.The present book on Red Sulphur Springs describes one of four resorts which made Monroe County the center of tourism in the nineteenth century, although The Red has been gone and largely forgotten for the last hundred years.

Fred has served as president of the Monroe County Historical Society and spearheaded the building of the Carriage House Museum in Union. The Museum now has eight full-size horse-drawn vehicles, including an Omnibus which at one time conveyed visitors to resort spas at Sweet Springs and Chalybeate Springs. Fred also has served as the chairman of the local Landmarks Commission and in this connection helped to sponsor the Archaeological Investigation of Cooks Fort, another colonial construct of Valentine Cook, and this study was carried out by Steven and Kim McBride recently. Finally, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History has recently presented Fred a West Virginia History Hero certificate “for outstanding work and significant contributions to preservation and promotion of West Virginia History.”