History

Mainhistory

Special thanks to Bob Giardina, Jennie Rossotti,and the Lake County Historic Courthouse Museum.

NOTE: (HM) refers to the page from the collection by Lake County Historian Henry Mauldin

Revised and compiled by Voris Brumfield ~ 9/ 12/ 01

The explorer and surveyor William Bell Elliott discovered the area of Sonoma and Lake Counties known as the Geysers in 1847. About the time of the Civil War, a stagecoach service into the area was established. Dr. Aleck Anderson of Vallejo and his brother-in law, Laban S. Patriquin, located several springs at the head of Loconoma Valley, situated 5 miles northwest of Middletown along a branch of Putah Creek. He named them after himself in 1873. Thus began the known history of Anderson Springs as a resort area. The original hotel was built in 1876 and could accommodate about 30 guests. Bathhouses were near the hotel, but the hot spring was 2,500 feet away with water conducted through a wooden pipe. A steam bath was arranged over a hot spring on the bank of the creek. The two developers constructed all of these. For many years daughters of Dr. Anderson ran the resort. In 1910, the hotel and cottages provided accommodations for 150 guests.

“These valuable mineral springs are situated in Lake County, 19 miles from Calistoga, 5 miles from
Middletown, and 10 miles from the Great Geysers. They are of easy access by stage from the termini of the railroads, Calistoga and Cloverdale. Mountain roads are well kept, and the stage ride is one of the most picturesque in the state. The hotel and cottages afford ample accommodations, with every facility for comfort. The table is superior. Camping and outdoors life on the grounds around the springs are well adapted. Miss Joey Anderson, the proprietress, is untiring in her efforts to please her guests and make them comfortable.”
Winslow Anderson, M.D, M.R.C.P./ Mineral Springs and Health Resorts of California

There were nine different springs on the property, both cold and warm, the names of some being iron, sour, magnesia, hot sulfur and iron, iron and magnesia. The water emerges at rather widely separated points on the property, but is reached by paths that form pleasant walks along the wooded canyon.

The Cold Sulfur Spring, which is the farthest downstream, issues from schistose material at the creek edge 300 yards east of the hotel. It has been protected by a cement basin and yields a small flow of cool, clear, rather strongly sulfured water used for drinking.

About 400 yards by trail eastward and southward from the hotel, in a little gulch on the side of a ravine, is the Sour Spring, which yields a slight flow of water that tastes of alum. The spring is perennial, but it seems to be supplied by surface water that becomes mineralized by seeping through crushed sedimentary material. Across the creek and about 100 yards northeast of the hotel, in a rock-walled pool at the creek edge, is Father Joseph Spring, which yields mildly sulfurated water that is pleasant for 675 yards west of the hotel and beneath a gravel bank at the north side of the creek. The water rises in a pool a few feet in diameter and also in a barrel sunk nearby. It is much used for drinking, but it tastes disagreeably strong of sulfides. The other five springs form above ground about 325 yards farther upstream, where they issue from bands of greatly altered sedimentary rock. The Hot Spring, which is the principal one, rises in a barrel that forms a drinking pool. The water is then piped to a small reservoir and a bathhouse nearby. This water is mildly sulfurated and, when cooled somewhat, it is a palatable drinking water. Near it are two short tunnels that also yield warm
water of similar character, and a few yards away vapor vents are utilized in small steam bath cabinets. The other two springs are a few yards westward, across covered with an iridescent film, possibly sulfates of aluminum and of iron-crystallize on the adjacent banks. The other spring is about 60 yards away in a branch ravine. It yields clear water that tastes strongly of alum, and the banks nearby are also usually coated with alum. The waters of these last two springs have been only slightly used and are not fit for drinking, as they are too astringent. (HM 443)

General comments from the Lake County

Courthouse Museum materials The Anderson heirs sold the resort property to A.R. Meade, and Mr. Meade sold off portions of the property and a number of homes constructed on the premises. (HM 9576) No.19 Mead Prospect, 1942 The Meade prospect is on land owned by Ray Meade of Middletown in sec. 35. T. 11 N. R. 8W., on the ridge between Bear Canyon and Gunning Creeks. It is 5 miles by road and 1 mile by trail northwest of Middletown.

(Possible manganese deposits) A. Meade and H. Meade were trustees for the Callayomi School from 1885-2907 (HM 9509) (HM 2342)- “The old Meade place was northeast of Putah Creek about 1/2 mile below the ash bank. This was from 1880 to 1900 in round figures.” Elba Woods (HM 1984) “Big Chief Mine was first opened up by Ernest Swartz near 1920 or earlier. He had a small resort and got out quite a production for a small mine. This was finally forced to close on account of the subterranean heat and too low a quality ore. Swartz owned Anderson Springs and lost a lot of money in this mine. He then turned the Anderson Springs property over to his nephew, Mr. Meade. It has never been mined since.” By Dave Strickler of Middletown 4/7/1953