Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homestead's Jefferson Pools ... "take the waters" in the hot springs

The Jefferson Pools are located five miles north of The Homestead Resort and date back over 200 years. The buildings have remained much the same throughout the years.
Located on Rt. 220 just north of Warm Springs
The Ladies Pool House
Pathway between Ladies and Gentlemen's pool houses.
Doorway to Gentlemen's Pool House

History of The Jefferson Pools

The magnificent, naturally warm mineral springs that are just five miles from The Homestead developed as a spa resort in the mid 1750s, and on June 1, 1761, an octagonal wooden building was opened to the public. It had been constructed around the pool of warm spring water, and it remains today very much as it was then.

The pool inside is about 120 feet in circumference, and holds 40,000 gallons of constantly flowing, crystal clear mineral spring water. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Virginia Historic Landmark, it is considered the oldest spa structure in America.

Warm Springs expanded rapidly as a spa resort. Hotels, dining rooms and kitchens, taverns, livery stables and a blacksmith shop, a church, laundry and related buildings were built to accommodate the growing numbers of guests who arrived to "Take the Waters."

Thomas Jefferson was one of those travelers, arriving in 1818 at the age of 75, and suffering from what he described as "rheumatism." He stayed for over three weeks, taking the waters several times each day, in the Gentlemen's Pool House that continues to be used to this day.

On August 13, 1818, Jefferson rode to The Homestead, where he enjoyed breakfast and dinner, and soaked in our legendary hot springs. And in a letter dated August 14, 1818 to his daughter Martha, Jefferson spread the reputation of our therapeutic natural mineral spring waters at both Warm Springs and The Homestead: he described them in glowing terms, saying that they were "of the first merit." And so, these historic natural spring pools are named in honor of their most illustrious patron -- they are The Homestead's Jefferson Pools.

On June 1, 1836, a separate Ladies Pool House was opened, fed by a separate spring whose waters have the same properties as those which supply the adjacent Gentlemen's Pool House.

The Jefferson Pools are continuously fed by several natural mineral springs from deep beneath the earth. The superlative, crystal clear spring waters at the Jefferson Pools are rich in minerals, and are a constant 98 degrees at their source - perfect, natural body temperature.

Taking the waters at the Jefferson Pools continues to be a favorite activity today, and it is just as relaxing and restorative as it was in 1761 when the Gentlemen's Pool House was built.

You can "take the waters" for $17. Soak in these legendary mineral spring waters for an hour and you will understand why Jefferson pronounced them to be the very best. A restorative that has found favor since ancient times, and is sure to be your favorite, too.

--Information from The Homestead Resort

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