22 March 2016

The Blue Ridge Mineral Springs

Mineral springs are naturally occurring springs that produce water containing minerals that some claim give it a therapeutic value.  Salts and sulfur compounds are among the substances that can be dissolved in the spring water while it travels underground.

Resorts sprang up around these springs in the 19th and early 20th centuries when it was popular for (usually wealthy) people to travel to such places and "take the waters." An 1886 newspaper article spoke of such a treasure in Whitfield County, Georgia, saying it contained "this pure medicinal beverage gushing from the Blue Ridge Mountains." Two counties over, due east of Whitfield, is Fannin.  In 1905, it was discovered the town of Blue Ridge in Fannin County had at least three mineral springs.  Rev. Joel Butts, pastor of the Blue Ridge Baptist Church found the springs, cleaned them out, and had the water analyzed.  It was determined that drinking the water from these springs would benefit one's general health because it contained magnesium, iron, and sulfur.

Walking trail along Mineral Springs Creek.According to theblueridgehighlander.com, "today there are no longer any mineral springs available for visitors to submerge in, even though un-maintained springs still do exist on private property in the area if you know where to look." In April 2015, a walking trail was opened in a place where one of the springs could once be found.  According to an old picture on an informational marker along the trail, the spring was outfitted with what looks to be a gazebo, a common practice of the time.

The creek that runs through the area is simply called Mineral Springs Creek, and you can see where the mineral spring itself once was, as denoted on this map.

The walking trail is part of a very pretty and well kept 13 acres.  I've visited it a couple of times.  Walking along and listening to the quiet waters of the creek flow by is very peaceful.  It's also cool to think people have been coming to this same area for the same rejuvenating purposes for more than 100 years.  As local resident Eva Baugh said when describing the springs, "Even if you didn't drink the water, it was a good place to visit and gossip."

In the following image, the creek bank to the left is approximately where the spring once was.

Mineral Springs approximate location.

I've only known about the walking trail less than a month.  I read an article that stated the site was once a dump.  I don't know if that was to be taken figuratively or literally.  Whatever the case of the recent past may be, I'm glad the area was cleaned up to a space that can be enjoyed by many.  And I'm especially thankful the historical significance is not lost.

No comments: