The village of Warm Springs is named after the pools of mineral water located across from the Old Bath County Courthouse and Jail (BA6). The springs, which maintain a year-round temperature of about 96 degrees, were discovered by Native Americans. During the nineteenth century and reaching a peak before the Civil War, Southerners escaping unhealthy lowland climates made annual tours to the springs, claiming benefit from the mineral waters and mountain climate while enjoying the social pleasures of the season. In an advertisement of 1810 in the Richmond Enquirer, Charles A. Lewis, owner of the spa at Warm Springs, announced that large-scale improvements at the “Warm” included additional baths, dressing rooms, and houses for lodging.
By the second half of the nineteenth century a hotel, stables, and cottages had been built overlooking two frame bathhouses (BA5) that sheltered the pools. Known as the Warm Springs Hotel, the two-story brick hotel could accommodate up to five hundred guests. After the Civil War the hotel's popularity declined, eclipsed by The Homestead (BA14) at Hot Springs only five miles to the south. It closed in 1924 and was demolished the following year. Surviving at the site, however, are the two bathhouses, reminders of one of Virginia's oldest and most popular springs resorts.
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