This week’s #MarkerMonday examines the Warm Springs Treatment Pools historical marker in Meriwether County. The natural springs of Warm Springs are the largest and most famous springs in Georgia. You may be familiar with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the pools as a treatment for his polio symptoms—it is believed that natural hot springs hold therapeutic benefits. After FDR founded the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation in 1927, the springs were transformed into a hydrotherapeutic treatment center to alleviate the debilitating effects of polio.
Warm Springs produces 914 gallons of water per minute at 88 degrees fahrenheit. After experiencing the benefits of the springs in 1924, Roosevelt purchased a declining resort at Warm Springs, originally built as a treatment resort in 1832. Roosevelt oversaw its transformation into the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation’s treatment center. Warm Springs may be the most famous springs in Georgia, but natural springs can be found across the state and have been used for their healing properties for centuries.
Health resorts emerged around springs as a way to profit from the natural health benefits provided by them. However, the resorts also allowed the communities around the springs to thrive through tourism. Today’s Porter Springs were once considered “magic springs” and inspired a health spa in Lumpkin County—utilizing local lore to promote the spring. Another example is found at Catoosa Springs. Confederate hospitals were built around the springs that utilized the mineral water to restore sick soldiers. Later, after the war, Catoosa and Gordon Springs were developed into health resorts. Franklin Springs in Franklin County is another early 19th-century heath resort that eventually transitioned from a health focus to a social resort in the 20th century. Since the 20th century, many of these springs are now privately owned, part of public spaces, or part of state parks.
Explore the links below to learn more:
Related Historical Marker – Georgia Warm Springs Foundation
Related Historical Marker – The Franklin Springs
Related Historical Marker – Catoosa County
Related Historical Marker – Catoosa Springs Confederate Hospital
Marker Monday – Trahlyta’s Grave
New Georgia Encyclopedia – Warm Springs
New Georgia Encyclopedia – Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation