Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stivers Springs Part Three

The History of Stivers Springs Part Three

Sometime in the next three years between 1895 and 1898,  George L Ryan became the owner of Stivers Springs. 

Vincennes Newspaper June 10, 1898: 
     George L Ryan has taken charge of Stivers Springs and will open the same to the public June 12. The hotel has been remodeled, bathhouses added and everything will be first class.

Later in September of that same year a letter to the editor was published describing Stivers Springs, as a Health and Pleasure Resort.
     Dear Editor: Myself and Wife have been spending the past week in rest and recreation at Stivers Springs, and being very much impressed with the beauty and the advantages of the place as a health and summer resort, I will endeavor to describe it for your readers, although I feel that my pen is not at all capable of doing the subject justice.
      Although the resort retains the name of Stivers Springs, it has passed out of the hands of the Stivers and is owned and managed by Mr.  George L Ryan, one of the most enterprising and popular citizens of Lawrence County, Illinois, a man of means, who although he has been in possession of the place but a few months, has made so many improvements to the grounds and buildings that old visitors are astonished and delighted on returning to the place.
      In making the improvements Mr. Ryan has displayed most admirable taste, strikingly drawing out and taking every advantage of the many beautiful points about the grounds, the whole of which had seemingly been designed by nature as a health and summer resort.
    The place is an ideal spot, beautifully located on a high point of rolling ground in Lawrence County, Illinois, about 1 ½ miles out of Bridgeport, Illinois, and is easily accessible by good wagon roads and by way of the B&OSW railroad, which road, having recognized the many advantages and the growing popularity of the place will, before another season rolls around, place a station within a half-mile of the resort, connecting with it by a broad and beautiful Boulevard. The grounds cover just 32 acres being 160 rods deep by 32 rods wide. Most of the grounds are rolling, especially in the wooded portions where nature’s landscape artist has done his best work. Over half of the grounds are covered with beautiful groves which afford a cool and delightful retreat during the heat of the summer months. Within that groves are to be found everything conducive to comfort and pleasure – lawn seats and benches, rope swings, hammocks and a number of delightful lawn swings, in which two or four persons can pass away many happy and restful hours. Beautiful croquet grounds are there for the lovers of that interesting and innocent amusement. A bowling alley is to be put up shortly, the fixtures being already on the grounds.
     Within the grounds is also a lake, well -stocked with fish, and upon which the proprietor intends to place a number of light pleasure boats for the use of his guests. That part of the grounds, which is not wooded, has been converted into beautiful, well-kept lawns upon which is a half mile circle race track, also a baseball diamond where are held frequent games by the clubs of the neighborhood and numerous clubs from afar.
     The resort is an ideal point for picnic parties, the people, both young and old, coming for miles around to enjoy the beauty and comfort of the place and hardly a day passes but what some social event occurs upon the grounds. This is especially true of Sundays when scores and often times hundreds of people visit the resort and spend the day in helpful rest and in innocent amusement. Public gatherings, such as political rallies and society outings are frequent. At present a big camp meeting is on.
     The hotel is a large two-story structure, beautifully located in the central part of the grounds. It has been completely remodeled and modernized by the present owner. Large verandas extend almost entirely around the building. In the rear, overlooking the grove and main pleasure grounds is a double veranda 20 feet wide by 40 foot long. On the lower one is located two pool tables for the amusement of the patrons of the resort, while the upper veranda is a model dancing pavilion, upon which many delightful social events occur from time to time. One striking feature noticeable is the neat and well-kept appearance of the hotel, and in fact, all of the buildings and grounds.
The service of the hotel is clean and of the best, the help courteous and ever watchful of the comfort and wants of the patrons, and the table will compare favorably with the best of the city hotels. The rates are exceedingly reasonable.
    The springs from which the resort has derived its name and which have given the place its reputation as a health resort are four in number and have long been celebrated for the curative qualities of their waters. They are arranged in two very pretty spring houses, one of which contains three pools, all having different curative qualities. The waters are beneficial will be attested by hundreds of people who have made annuals sojourns of days and sometimes weeks at the resort for many years past. At the present time several old soldiers are registered for the week, this being their 18th annual visit. The bath house is large and new and is fitted up with all the modern bathing facilities. Hot and cold Spring baths, also electric baths can be taken and they always prove most beneficial.
     No better or healthful spot could be found to spend the summer vacation in rest and healthful recreation away from the heat and the worry of the city and the fact that the resort is so easily accessible to Vincennes, a pleasant drive, or bicycle run and a few minutes ride by rail, almost at our very door, one might say, makes it the most popular resort in the country for our people, many of whom visit the place and spend days and even weeks. All of them whether their stay is brief or long, have no words, other than praise to offer of Stivers Springs, health and summer resort.

      Written by a member of the commercial staff. 

Continued tomorrow Part Four
Stivers Springs circa 1905