Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Salubria Springs

History of a Christian County health spa

Like most roads with interesting names, Salubria Springs Road (just west of Pembroke, Kentucky) has a story.

Salubria was once a small settlement in Christian County, located near a natural spring (or springs.)  In the early 1800s, one of Christian County's first churches was built at Salubria. William Henry Perrin included Salubria in a list of minor settlements in his 1884 history of Christian County, stressing that all of them were much smaller than Pembroke.

The spa envisioned

The name "Salubria Springs" referred to the healthful (salubrious) effects of the spring water. It had a significant sulfur content. (Mineral water of this flavor isn't valued nearly as much today as it once was!)

In the day of horse-drawn transportation, city dwellers who could afford it spent summers in the country. Cities smelled bad in the heat, partly because of all the horse manure. Hotels at mineral springs were popular vacation spots. Cerulean Springs (about 15 miles northwest of Hopkinsville) had a successful hotel by the mid-1800s, and Dawson Springs (about 25 miles north of Hopkinsville) drilled a mineral-water well and entered the health-spa scene around 1900.

Perhaps inspired by the success of Dawson Springs, turn-of-the-century entrepreneur Doug Lander saw potential in the sulfur water of Salubria Springs. He and two other investors from Pembroke purchased the site and implemented an optimistic plan. Wells were drilled to supplement the spring water, and in 1907, the Forbes Manufacturing Company (a well-respected and prolific local builder) was given the contract to build a large hotel.

The Salubria Springs hotel was a long (170 foot), two-story building. For promenading in the fresh, country air, it had a full-length porch on the ground floor and a full-length balcony on the second floor. There were 40 rooms, including two dining rooms, and an enclosed stairwell at each end. The larger dining room doubled as a ballroom. Two outhouses were located behind the hotel.

The hotel years

Salubria Springs Hotel opened in the summer of 1908. A grid of streets was laid out, and lots around the hotel were offered for sale. But business was slow, and profits did not meet the expectations of the investors. By 1910, the hotel had a new owner and new management.

The Kentucky New Era described the Salubria Springs opening ball of 1910 in glowing terms:
The big hotel never before entertained such a crowd and never was there a more delightful event given under its hospitable roof. People came from every direction and from long distances. They came in automobiles, horseback, in buggies, wagons, surreys and every kind of vehicle, on the trains and some even walked. Hopkinsville and Pembroke turned out almost en masse, but Fairview, Elkton, Trenton, Guthrie, Clarksville, Madisonville, Princeton, Henderson, Evansville and many other towns sent large delegations. The crowd was even beyond expectations, but they were hospitably cared for by Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Petre, the lessees of the hotel.  (Source: "Opening Ball at Salubria," Kentucky New Era, June 24, 1910)

There was no train station at Salubria Springs, but apparently the train stopped somewhere in the area and let off the passengers who wanted to visit the hotel.

By 1912, the hotel had sold to Guy Dority. He produced a brochure that advertised a month's stay at the Salubria (including three meals a day) for just $40. A two week stay cost $24. And, the brochure claimed, a stay at the Salubria improved a body: "The waters have proven to be especially beneficial in diseases of stomach, liver and kidneys. Good for the tired feeling. The run-down go home wound-up and ready for a fresh start. The very best place to rest and build up." (As quoted from the brochure by Joe Dorris in "Watching the Parade,"  Kentucky New Era, April 1, 1989.)

Other uses of the building

1912 seems to have been the last season that the hotel was kept open. A well-to-do lady named Mrs. A. O. Daugherty owned the property later. I do not know if she was connected in any way to the Guy Dority who owned it in 1912, but their names certainly sound similar. Mrs. Daugherty lived at Salubria Springs in the summer and in California in the winter. She employed Mr. Browder Dossett and family as caretakers, and they lived in the hotel year-round. ("Watching the Parade," Kentucky New Era, Sept. 24, 1976.)

Dances and other occasional events were held at the ballroom during Mrs Daugherty's years of ownership, and bottled water from the springs was sold by mail-order. I'm not sure when her era at the hotel ended, but an advertisement in the Kentucky New Era on August 1, 1929 (image at left)  hints that an attempt was made that year to put the hotel back into operation.

In 1931, the property was purchased by Christian County. The old poor farm north of Hopkinsville was closed, and Salubria Springs Hotel became the new Christian County Benevolent Home. It was used for this purpose through the late 1950s. The county sold the property at auction in 1958.

The hotel then became the Salubria Springs Home for the Aged. As a nursing home, it had at least two different owners, before fire safety regulations finally forced it to close for good in 1970. Ironically, fire destroyed the building in December, 1976. In 1977, the Fiscal Court was petitioned by landowners to formally close eight avenues in the area.

Salubria Springs now

When I drove down Salubria Springs Road last week, I could detect no sign of the hotel. I crossed a bridge over a small creek that may be fed by the springs. I saw several large, modern tobacco barns in a field near the road, and I saw the industrial park nearby. The road circles an overgrown clump of trees, which may be the old hotel site. I didn't see anyone there to ask, so I am only guessing about that.


See an image of the old hotel building in this 1965 advertisement for the sale of the Salubria Springs nursing home.

A photograph of Salubria Springs Hotel, taken in 1933, appears in William Turner and Ladonna Dixon Anderson's book, Cerulean Springs and The Springs of Western Kentucky.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Seen at the Grocery Store

Genealogy nuts 

So, dear family and friends, you think I've become a little obsessed lately with researching the family tree, hmmm?  Please note that this plate is on someone else's car, not mine.

And even though I was quite curious about who owned this plate, I did not go into the grocery store and ask likely-looking shoppers, "Are you the genealogy nut?"

However, if I had seen this person at the car, I would have asked what family names he/she was researching.

Keely's Been Knitting

Link, in yarn

Keely's always working on a craft project. She finished crocheting this little fellow recently. He's Link, a character from a video game, and he'll be a Christmas present to a friend. At far right, you can see part of a grayish-blue ball -- I think that's a body part of the knitted turtle that she was doing next.

Frank's Archive

The stacks

Most libraries have stacks, and our mechanic's library is no exception. This pallet of old car repair manuals always amuses me. We love Frank, our mechanic. He does a great job for us.

Look into the stacks at some traditional libraries:
Stacks at the Manchester Central Library (in the UK)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Minnie Floretta Wood Cooley Sweat Barkely McBain McBain

Just the facts, ma'am.

This is what I've learned about Minnie Floretta Wood, a half-sister of my husband's grandmother, after a week of intensive research.

Minnie Floretta Wood married several times. Here is a chronological list of her husbands and the dates and places of the marriages:

Unknown Cooley (father of Mabel)
Married abt. 1892
Probably in Indiana

Lorenzo J. Sweat
Married 07 May 1901
Chanute, Neosho County, Kansas

Joseph Barclay
Married 18 Nov 1903
Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan

John H. McBain
Married 31 Dec 1904
Clearfield, Juneau County, Wisconsin

John H. McBain
Married 15 May 1917
Dubuque, Iowa

And here is a timeline of events in Minnie's life, as best I can reconstruct it from census and marriage records.

1874 - 1886
Minnie Floretta Wood was born on May 14, 1874, in Macoupin County, Illinois. She was the first of three children born to William Charles and Hester Adeline (Scott) Wood. William and Hester divorced sometime after 1880, and in 1886, "Mrs. Hester Wood"  married Isaac H. Reed.

The entire collection of 1890 Federal census records, except for a few pages, perished in a 1921 fire, so there's no record of the Reed/Wood family for that decade.

About 1892
Minnie Wood married an Unknown Cooley (father of Mabel) in about 1892, probably in Indiana.

The 1900 census shows Isaac and Hester Reed (Minnie's mother and step-father) living in Stoddard County, Missouri. They had four children together, and their youngest daughter Hester Reed (my husband's grandmother) was 8 years old. An 8-year-old granddaughter, Mabel Cooley, and two of Hester's children from her first marriage, William Wood (21 years old) and Louise Wood Adams (a 23-year-old widow), were also living with the Reeds. Mabel Cooley was Minnie Floretta Wood's daughter.

On 07 May 1901, Minnie married Lorenzo J. Sweat in Chanute, Neosho County, Kansas.

On 18 Nov 1903, Minnie married Joseph Barclay in Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan.

On 31 Dec. 1904, Minnie married John H. McBain  in Clearfield, Juneau County, Wisconsin.

At the time of the 1905 Wisconsin census, our Minnie ("Florence" McBain) was living with her husband John H. McBain (nickname: "Bert") and her daughter Mable Cooley in Vernon County, Wisconsin.

I did not locate Minnie in the 1910 census. Her latest husband John McBain was recorded in Rockford, Illinois. He had divorced Minnie and was living with his daughter Violet from his first marriage and her husband.

Mabel Cooley (Minnie's daughter, now 17 years old) and her little daughter Christina were also living with John McBain's daughter Violet and her husband. (Violet and Mabel were step-sisters.) Mabel had married John McBain's nephew, Duncan Walter McBain.  Duncan was recorded in the 1910 census as working in Stephenson, Illinois, and living in a boarding house there.

The next record that I found for Minnie was her fifth and, I believe, final marriage. The groom was John H. McBain again, and they were remarried on 15 May 1917 in Dubuque, Iowa.

In the 1920 census, John McBain (married) was living in Vernon County, Illinois, with his sister and brother-in-law.

Meanwhile in the 1920 census, Minnie (married) was living in Rockford, Illinois, with her half-brother Charles Reed, her mother Hester, her daughter Mabel McBain (now divorced), and Mabel's five children (Christine McBain, 12; Lillian McBain, 8; Orville McBain, 6; Glen McBain, 4, and Birdie McBain, 11 months).

Mabel's children are recorded twice in the 1920 census. They're listed with their mother as described above, and they're also listed as residents of the Rockford Home for Children (a certified orphanage, according to documents of the period.) Mabel's ex-husband, Walter McBane, was working as a machinist is Batavia, Illinois.

After 1920
So far, I haven't found any further record of the five McBain children. I don't know what happened to Mabel after 1920. (Note: A descendant of Mable contacted us in Dec 2013. He stated that Mabel married a Morgan and had a second family, including his grandmother, after 1920.) Walter McBane seems to have remained single after the divorce. He died in Aurora, Illinois, in 1967.

In 1930, John McBain was working as a carpenter and boarding with a Jones family in Wilmington, Illinois. He was recorded as being married, but he wasn't living with a wife. He died in.Los Angeles, California, on March 23, 1942.
Find-a-Grave record for Minnie McBain

Minnie Floretta Wood McBain died in Independence, Missouri, on Feb. 28, 1936, at the age of 62,  She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence.

Updated on 20 Sept 2011. Updated on 31 Dec 2013.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

An Octagonal Schoolhouse in Berks County, PA

Education in the early 1800s

I wasn't looking for octagon-shaped buildings! I was trying to find some information about my Welsh grandfather who settled in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in the 1730s. My search brought me to a collection of papers submitted to the Berks County Historical Society in 1905-1909.

Inside that collection, "The Eight Cornered School House at Sinking Springs" caught my attention. This paper was written by Professor Eli M. Rapp, who was the superintendent of schools in Berks County.  Professor Rapp's paper included a history of the octagon-shaped, Sinking Springs schoolhouse of Berks County, and a description of the education that took place inside its walls.

I became so interested in the Sinking Springs school that I abandoned my ancestor, read the entire paper, and tried to find a photograph of the little schoolhouse. I couldn't locate one. Perhaps its three-foot-thick stone walls have finally crumbled -- or (more likely) they've been knocked down by progress.However, I did find images of other octagonal schools built in the same era and region.

Octagonal Schoolhouse, Newtown Square, PA (Wikipedia image.)
The eight-sided schoolhouse in this photo is located in Delaware County, PA. Its appearance (another view) is very similar to Professor Rapp's description of the Sinking Springs School of Berks County.  Another eight-sided schoolhouse is still standing in Bucks County, PA. All of these counties -- Berks, Bucks, and Delaware -- are neighbors in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania.

Professor Rapp wrote (in 1907) that the Sinking Springs schoolhouse was built over a century earlier (possibly in 1790-1800) and was taken out of service over 50 years earlier (possibly around 1850.) Most of the eight-sided meeting houses and schools built in eastern Pennsylvania were stone. according to Rapp.  These solid buildings, constructed after the American Revolution, were a big improvement over the rough log structures that they replaced. The webpage about the Bucks County octagonal school, says that there were once around 100 octagonal schoolhouses in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania.

Inside the schoolhouse, a cast-iron woodstove stood in the center of the room, and its stovepipe ran straight up to the cupola. Overhead, exposed rafters radiated from the center like spokes on a wheel. The teacher's desk was opposite the door, and the younger children sat around the stove. A shelf was attached to the stone walls about three feet above the floor, all the way around the room. It was used as a table by the older pupils who sat on a ring of benches, with their backs to the teacher.

In the middle of winter, 70 or even 80 children were sometimes enrolled in the school  It's hard to imagine packing that many bodies into such a small space. Only one teacher was employed each term, regardless of the enrollment.

The schoolmasters described by Professor Rapp were a rougher sort than I might have imagined. They were often itinerant, rather than permanent, community members. Most of them used tobacco, and many of them used alcohol. They maintained order through the liberal use of corporal punishment. It was not uncommon for them to get into fistfights with the older boys.*

One of the first English sentences learned by many immigrant students, according to Professor Rapp, was "Master, please mend my pen." The pens of that day were goose quills, and the schoolmasters were experts in shaping the point of a quill with a pen knife. Besides writing, the students learned reading and arithmetic. Schools like the one at Sinking Springs were the origin of the saying, "Reading, writing, and arithmetic, all to the tune of a hickory stick." Parents paid a tuition of three cents per day. I presume that fee was assessed for each child.

In his paper, Professor Rapp included a few personal observations about the state of education in 1907 . He bemoaned the decline of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool, and he talked about schoolmarms replacing the old schoolmasters.  Read his paper in its entirety at this link: "The Eight Cornered School House at Sinking Springs."

*I told Isaac about the schoolmasters fighting with the big boys, and Isaac reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Farmer Boy, about Almanzo's boyhood in New York. A previous schoolmaster of Almanzo's school was beaten so badly by six big boys that he died later. Almanzo feared that his new teacher, a small man, would be beaten up by the big boys, too, but the teacher was ready for the challenge. He brought out a bullwhip (that he had borrowed from Almanzo's father) and taught the bullies a lesson with it.

- - - - - - - - - -
Related on the Web:
List of octagonal buildings and structures in the United States 
Octagonal houses in Canada
Hyde Octagon House
Remembrances of the Yaphank School (in New York)
Gentle School Marm or Ambitious Young Men? 

 Related Prairie Bluestem posts
One Room School
Sand Tables in the 1916 Classroom
Lunch Hour at a One Room School
District 44 at Johnstown, Nebraska
Riding Horseback to School

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Beverly Store

Old store building in Christian County, KY

This building appears to have been a store at one time. It's located in the little community known as Beverly, near the intersection of Lafayette Road and Old Palmyra Road,  a few miles south of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Thus, I believe it was the Beverly Store in earlier days.

Edgar Cayce, the "Sleeping Prophet", grew up in this immediate vicinity. His father, Leslie Cayce, ran the Beverly Store during the 1870s. I don't know if the building in the photo was around in the 1870s, or if the store was in a different building then.

I mention Edgar Cayce only because that's what Google brought up when I searched for "Beverly Store Christian County Kentucky". Edgar Cayce is a famous figure in local history, but I have decided not to learn much about him. I think his psychic powers came from Darkness whether he acknowledged it or not, and the less I study him, the better. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

A gazetteer published in 1880 describes Beverly as a "post-hamlet of Christian co., Ky., 8 miles from Hopkinsville." It mentions a high school and a church, which would have been the Beverly Academy and the Liberty Church. Along with the Beverly Store, all were located within a mile or so along the Palmyra Pike.
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.