Thursday, September 20, 2007

Postcards featuring unusual buildings Part 6

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Today I will continue the series on unusual buildings starting with the Fountain Spring House, Metropolitan Church Association, in Waukesha Wisconsin. This is a circa 1908 postcard that shows a huge hotel that covers several city blocks.
History shows Colonel Richard Dunbar’s brush with death in 1868 and seeming salvation by Bethesda’s springs healing waters initiated Waukesha’s Spring Era. Dunbar had been given six weeks to live by his doctor when he drank from the spring and “was cured”. He named the spring Bethesda, bought a half interest in the property and began selling the “miracle cure” which won medals at Paris, St. Louis and San Francisco World Fairs. The original Fountain Spring House was constructed on 140 acres and formally opened July 4th 1874 to satisfy the huge demand by tourists who flocked to Waukesha to partake of the miracle water. In 1878, the hotel burned but was rebuilt, bigger and better than before and became a great landmark and THE place to see and be seen.
By 1905, the Waukesha Hygeia Mineral Spring Company, which had bought the spring in 1891, was bankrupt due to the modern skepticism regarding “miracle cures”, social and cultural changes and the automobile. The Metropolitan Church Association bought the famous Fountain Spring House and owned the hotel until 1956 when it was sold to a real estate firm who demolished it to make way for an apartment complex. This postcard is available in my Wisconsin listings, along with more than 10,000 additional postcards, available on my website at Moody’s Postcards.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Fascinating information! And I can't believe how large your inventory is. I'll look forward to reading more.