Grayson Springs Chapter

Leitchfield, Kentucky

 

Donna Faye Wright Wilson, Regent

Linda Peterson, Vice Regent

Judy Paxton, Chaplain

Susan Thorpe, Recording Secretary

Nancy Brown, Corresponding Secretary

Abbie Bales, Treasurer

Rose Booth, Registrar

Nancy Reed, Historian

Jan Clements, Librarian

 

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HISTORY OF THE CHAPTER

 

Grayson Springs is a pre-Civil War gem located in the southeastern section of Grayson County. Long before the Civil War, around 1830, it was a popular social haven for people from not only Kentucky but from all over the country. The history of this area actually goes back to 1611 when Fr. Charles Nerinckx was a pioneer missionary priest who founded the nearby Grayson Springs Mission, which is the current St. Augustine's church.

 

The original resort was a property of about 1,000 sprawling acres with four, 3-story hotels, which had a very southern ambiance, verandas abounded. The year 1930 saw the last of these magnificent structures destroyed by fire. The resort first opened its doors in 1830, owned by a Van Meter family. It was, bar none, one of the most popular spas in the south.

 

What made this vacation destination so desirable was the mineral and fresh water springs. The resort boasted 24 mineral springs and 2 fresh water springs and guests came to drink the waters that were billed as healing waters which could cure many ills. The long remembered names of some of the springs were Rock, Center, White Sulfur, Moreman, McAtie, Stump, Jar, Eye, and Humenal. Looking at these names makes one wonder at their origin.

 

The sulfur spring waters were the main draw but the activities provided were balls during the evening, minstrel shows, and cake walks on Saturday and every day there was horseback riding, bowling, croquette on the lawn, leisurely strolls around the grounds with a beau, plays, shooting gallery, sampling the springs or just sitting and relaxing on one of the many verandas in a rocking chair, sipping mint juleps or planters punch on a warm summer's day.

 

The conflict of the Civil War did little to affect the popularity of the springs. The spa continued to thrive and guests abounded as the war raged on. Rates for this vacation were the following: Board per week - $6.00, per week for the month - $5.00, children and servants half price and, of course, horses - $2.50. A detachment of Confederate soldiers dug in right above the inn and this became known as Confederate Hill.

 

In 1900, the resort was owned by the Mercke Brothers. Amenities they added were electric lights, running water, and a long distance telephone office was located here for the convenience of the guests.

 

The present day Grayson Springs Inn, as it was renamed, is a much smaller structure. It actually is located where the old bowling alley was. The Inn closed in 1955 due to the owner's inability to have someone willing to run the inn. It has lain silent since then, but the hope is that this marvelous entity, with such a colorful past, will flourish again.

 

 

 

 

Updated May 20, 2019

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