With its warm climate and mineral springs, Florida gained a reputation for its “healthfulness” during the 19th and 20th centuries. During this time period many hotels and bathhouses were built around the cool, crystal clear waters of the mineral springs.
One was the Hampton Springs Hotel, in Hampton Springs located in Taylor County. Before it was sold to the Hampton Family in 1857, it was known as Rocky Creek Mineral Springs. With the outbreak of the Civil War and the poor economy thereafter they just sat on their property. Then in 1900, they formed a corporation with local shareholders and began construction of the hotel and bathhouse. Both were completed in 1908.
It was hoped that with the Live Oak, Perry & Gulf Railroad running east and west near the hotel, it would attract visitors. Unfortunately, it did not. Railroad magnate J. S. Oglesby from Adel, Georgia saw the problem and invested in Hampton Springs. Reorganizing the corporation with the original shareholders, he had his South Georgia Railway extended down to Perry, which gave better access to the hotel.
One of the most luxurious hotels in the area in 1920, the Hampton Springs Hotel had lush gardens, elaborate fountains, and planters, a covered pool with footbaths fed by the springs, a casino, grand ballroom, tennis courts, outdoor dance pavilion, stables, and a railroad depot. The nine-hole golf course was one of the first in the region. In the dining room, most of the food was grown on the hotel farm. It was self-sufficient even with its own power plant.
As was the tradition in the area with the other springs, Hampton Springs had its own bottling plant and sold their water nationwide. For six dollars, you could order 12 half-gallon bottles or 5-gallon demijohns for four dollars. If you returned your bottles you got a rebate.
With medical experts no longer promoting water cures by the end of the 1920s, many resorts closed. The exception was Hampton Springs, as they had adapted to the change and started promoting themselves as a golf resort, hunting and fishing lodge with a wilderness retreat.
During the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, military personnel began using the hotel as barracks for testing aircraft pilots- at the Perry-Foley Airport.
Destroyed by fire in 1954, the site was forgotten. Then in 2006, it was uncovered and turned into a state park by Taylor County. Due to the county’s liability insurance policy, the historic pool was filled with rocks and broken cement.