An ode to West Virginia’s antebellum ties, the historic springs represent much of the state’s Southern influences. These springs are a reminder of another era when people of the Tidewater lowlands flocked to enjoy the springs’ rejuvenating powers. Eventually their popularity diminished and people no longer took stock in the waters’ medicinal values. However, a visit to these springs today could recharge anyone’s love of architecture harmoniously linked to nature.
Capon Springs and Farm, Hampshire County
After discovering the springs in 1765 on a hunting trip, Henry Frye brought his ailing wife over the Great North Mountain from Virginia where she was healed by Capon Spring’s waters. Added to the National Register in 1994, the collection of unpretentious vernacular architecture sets the tone for Capon Springs. The octagonal springhouse of randomly laid sandstone is built directly into White Cliff – the rocky bluff that houses the roughly thousand foot deep spring.
Salt Sulphur Springs
Now privately owned, the Salt Sulphur Springs is visible along U.S. Route 219 in Monroe County. Once one of the more celebrated destinations, the Salt Sulphur Springs is nestled in a narrow ravine. The compound included a hotel, Episcopal chapel, store, springhouse, and brick cottages. However, Salt Sulphur Springs took a serious blow during the Civil War. After troops used the hotel as a barracks, the post-war resort only opened sporadically until it ceased to be a hotel in 1936. Today, the hotel-turned-private-residence still suggests the once grand scale of the complex.
Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion
The sole remaining structure of a once extensive spa, the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion now stands alone in an open pasture encircled by tree-covered hills. The twelve Doric columns support a frame entablature and hipped roof with a tiny gable at the center of each side. Unfortunately, Union soldiers touched the most of the resort in 1864 to prevent Confederate troops from using the buildings. Added to the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s Endangered Properties List in 2013, Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion is now under the care of the Greenbrier Historical Society. They hope to restore this bucolic site to a reinvigorating tourist destination.
There are plenty of other springs to explore such as Bella Vista in Berkeley County and the famous White Sulphur Springs at the Greenbrier Resort in Greenbrier County. Enjoy the springs of West Virginia and let their rejuvenating historic beauty and natural surroundings be your excuse for an excursion.