It ain't pretty being easy... (soopageek) wrote,
It ain't pretty being easy...

Tatham Springs Hotel, gone

lmost exactly one year ago, I photographed an abandoned hotel near my home in Tatham Springs, Kentucky. This week my brother sent me an e-mail informing me that it had burned to the ground, cause unknown. A local television news station reported it briefly as well on their website. Some of you weren't around when I posted that entry, and some of you may have missed it for whatever reasons. While its demise was certain, whether at the mercy of its failing, 130 year old construction or at the whim of its current owner, I'm still saddened to know it's gone. I also feel privileged for having had the opportunity to document it in the last year of its life and to be the owner of the only photographs in existence online. When I return home, I intend to take a trip to the property and photograph whatever is left.

As a way of honoring its memory, I'm going to re-post a portion of the first entry in that series, complete with links to all seven parts in the series. If you have the time and didn't see them the first go around, I hope you'll consider checking it out. It was truly a wonderful and rare site that is now gone forever.

Part I   - The Exterior of the Hotel
Part II  - The Pool  & Bath Houses
Part III - The First Floor Interior, A
Part IV  - The First Floor Interior, B
Part V - The 2nd Floor Foyer, Hall, and Exterior
Part VI - The 2nd Floor Interior
Part VII - In search of the Tatham Spring

Part I - The Exterior of the Hotel

Sometimes you need go no further than your own backyard to have an adventure.

In northern Washington County Kentucky, near the town of Willisburg is the community of Tatham Springs.  It's about 10 miles from where I grew up.  I spent a summer working in a tobacco field just below the bridge that crosses one of the tributaries feeding the Chaplin River.  On the banks of the river stands the remains of the old Tatham Springs Hotel.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and apparently is the subject of some haunting conjecture.  Information on the structure is scant, but it appears to have been built in the late 19th century around 1875, serving as a resort and health spa during the golden age of the mineral springs craze.  Later in its active life, it served as Kentucky's first statewide 4-H camp in the early part of the 20th century.  What follows is the only photo I could find online of the resort from its heyday.

As a child, I had seen it from a distance many times; from the windows of a school bus or from the tobacco field which sat in front of it.  Even then it looked forlorn and abandoned.  I had decided earlier in the year that when the weather was right, I wanted to take a personal field-trip to the old structure, if it was still standing, and document what remained before it was too late.  From the looks of things, and as I later would find out, I got there just in time.

( Read more )

x-posted to abandonedplaces and rural_ruin.
Tags: photo

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