A few weeks ago, I found myself driving around with Rocky. Rocky lives up near the North Carolina-Virginia line, and he had a historic site in mind that he wanted to show me. He took me to Buffalo Springs in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
So that was the day I found myself in Buffalo Junction Va home of Buffalo Springs. It is much different if you visit the area today than in their hay day. Let’s take a look.
The area gained attention in 1726. Colonel William Byrd was surveying the boundary between Virginia and Carolina. The Colonel was witness to Native Americans killing a local buffalo for food and also drinking from a spring nearby hence the name Buffalo Springs.
Buffalo Springs, also known as Buffalo Lithia Springs. Why was it called Lithia? Because back in the 1800’s it was believed to contain lithium. Here is a quote from Bottled Poetry
…”for a person to obtain any therapeutic dose of lithium by drinking Buffalo Lithia Spring Water, he would have to drink from 150,000 to 225,000 gallons per day.”
The spring water became known for its healing properties and quickly gained worldwide popularity. Visitors to the spring began arriving as early as 1790. Notable guests like Thomas Jefferson, General Scott, and General Santa Anna were among the many who paid a visit to the spring.
As the springs gained popularity, the healing waters were shipped not only all over the US but as far away as Europe. A resort was built to accommodate those who wanted to visit and experience the spring water firsthand. This resort consisted of two hotels, two bowling alleys, a dining room that could seat 250 guests, a stocked lake, horseback riding, and walking trails.
Here is a quote describing the property written in Aug 1874
“The Hotel is a one-story building, containing the ballroom, parlor, and office – a very admirable arrangement, as no one is so disturbed by the music and dancing. The dining room takes up another spacious building just in rear of the hotel. Scattered all over the grounds and around the edges of the beautiful green, are about 50 cottages, containing some 100 rooms.”
According to Abandoned Countrythe healing waters were a cure-all. Here are just a few things that could be treated, or so was the belief, with this curative spring water…
The ailments Buffalo Springs Lithia Water could lick reads like that long list of side effects from today’s miracle drugs: “dropsical affections, visceral obstructions, protracted intermittent and remittent fevers, chronic diseases of the skin, dyspepsia, convalescence from fevers of every grade and type, female complaints, and almost every disease of the pelvic organs of both sexes.”
If you visit the site today, you will find a public picnic area, shelter, and historic signs. The historic buildings are now gone; they have been dismantled and removed. You will still find the spring water flowing from a pipe on the property.
On my visit, I did drink from the spring. Does that mean I will enjoy the healing properties of this amazing water? One can only hope.
If you find yourself in the area, you should check out Buffalo Springs. You can enjoy the great outdoors, read about the history of the spring, and partake of a picnic lunch at one of the picnic tables. Don’t forget to take a drink of the cold spring water…you may never be the same:-)
We live in a fantastic world.
Get out and explore, and happy travels!