More Than Mineral Water: A Collection of Images from Bedford Springs' Past

Public and Community Publications

More Than Mineral Water: A Collection of Images from Bedford Springs' PastIn 1900 the Bedford Springs Hotel was already over a century old. It was one of America’s best-known mineral water spas and a regular stop on the fashionable “resort circuit” for the social elite of Middle Atlantic cities. It played host to the richest and most powerful people in the world, including captains of industry, financial and political leaders, and five U.S. presidents.

Of course the ritual of “taking the waters” was central to any visit to Bedford Springs, but there was far more to the Springs experience than just mineral water. Mineral spring resorts may have begun as places of healing but as time went on they began to offer a wide variety of recreational activities to their guests. Dancing, golf, tennis, bowling, lawn games, walking, riding, bicycling, swimming, or just simple sociability around a card table may have done more to promote good physical and mental health than plunge baths or doses of mineral water.

This publication illustrates some of the leisure pursuits and amusements enjoyed by hotel guests at the turn-of-the-century, as captured in vintage photographs and postcards. Heberling Associates produced the booklet in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Bedford Springs Resort, using many historic images from the hotel’s archives. It has enjoyed widespread public distribution and a very positive response.