- Berkeley Springs, WV
Berkeley Springs, WV
Brief History of Berkeley Springs - Our charming art and spa town 90 miles from WDC
Named for the warm mineral waters that flow unfailingly and abundantly at its center, Berkeley Springs has been a popular resort from colonial times to the present. Early travelers learned of the water's healing powers from native tribes. George Washington first visited "ye fam'd warm springs" in 1748 when he was a 16-year-old member of Lord Fairfax's surveying party. Fairfax owned millions of acres in the region including the springs where he built a summer cottage along with the first bathhouse for his private use. A town of sorts grew up as the colonial elite of Virginia came to "take the waters."
Washington and his family visited often and noted steamboat inventor, James Rumsey, was an early resident. In December 1776, the Virginia Legislature formally established a town around the springs and called it Bath. Regardless of its official name, the world knows it -- then and now -- by the post office name of Berkeley Springs.
During the next two centuries, Berkeley Springs experienced cycles of fame and notoriety with historic reports of racetracks, gambling and houses of ill repute. Many of the rich and famous stayed at its large hotels or built their own elaborate summer cottages like Berkeley Castle. The Civil War changed Berkeley Springs' address from Virginia to West Virginia. Its visitors shifted from southern planters to northern industrialists. The town thrived as a fashionable spa resort during the Victorian age and covered bath houses filled the Grove. Today, the public area around the springs is Berkeley Springs State Park.
In the 21st century, Berkeley Springs remains a magnet for those seeking to "take the waters" for their health and restoration. It supports a cutting edge spa industry as well as the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, largest and longest running in the world. The extensive arts community repeatedly earns Berkeley Springs national recognition as one of the top 25 art destinations in America, and the town is well known for fine dining, antiquing and unique shopping.
Outdoor activities abound: golf; river activities; bike riding on rail trails; rock climbing; shooting and hiking.
Everything you need to know about our lovely little art and spa town can be found here: www.berkeleysprings.com
The State Park with its Spring fed pool and the old Bathouse and Museum in the background.
Historic Bath looking South on 522.
Historic Bath looking North on 522.
The State Park again with Stores on Fairfax Street.
The Morgan County Courthouse.