Sweet Springs Resort Park Foundation, Inc. (the “Foundation”) is organized, and will be operated, exclusively for charitable, recreational, Entrepreneurial Business, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“the Code”), or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. The Foundation has been formed to operate and manage a park for the benfit of the public.
The Sweet Springs Historic District is one of the most significant historic sites in North America (c 1740). The property, was used by the Trans Alleghany Indians long before settlers came here for medicinal and birthing purposes because of the pure drinking water (still some of the purest in the world) and the warm water pool (water stays 73 degrees year round). After William Lewis got title to the land, the first of 3 hotels was built. The current one, designed by Thomas Jefferson, opened in 1833 and the property consists of a large hotel, several houses, the oldest frame built house and oldest jail west of the Alleghany Mountains, and the foundation to the homestead of Anne Royall - the first noted woman journalist, editor, writer and friend to John Quincy Adams. Anne is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. Between 1795 & 1807, the District Court House was here on the property with court being held in the jailhouse.
8 of the first 10 Presidents stayed here at the grand hotel, with some spending an entire season here. Some of the famous folks to stay here was: James & Dolly Madison; Millard Fillmore, Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, Patrick Henry, the Marquis de Lafayette, Jerome Bonapart (Napoleon's brother), and many others.
After being bypassed by the railroad, the resort here never gained its pre-civil war popularity and began to decline.
The Foundation will restore this property which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Foundation plans for the property to include a hotel and conference center, business center, and health spa. In addition the Foundation will develop a sports training and recreation center to serve the local communities as well as disadvantaged and inner-city youth, an organic farmer’s market operated by U.S. veterans, and a historic museum, combining the entire 525 acre property into a public park.
Excerpts from "Healing Waters", WV South Magazine, June/July 2016 by Cindy Worley
Berkley has leased the 500 adjoining acres, currently owned by the state, to be used for recreational and farming activities. "It will be perfect for a sports training facility for children _ for soccer, tennis, maybe a putting green and an amphitheater. We would also use it for organic farming, perhaps a small vineyard," he explains.
"Our objective is to restore this place and use it to the best purpose to support itself. It's just too beautiful to let go. I was scared to death somebody would buy it, tear it down and bottle the water." [Ashby Berkley]
"This is just not a Monroe County property, it is a national property." [Ashby Berkley]
Photo by Bill Brezinski