Tuesday, April 28, 2009
April 28- French Lick Indiana
"Here we take the mineral waters, when nature can't, Pluto can-- America's greatest laxative!" I found these words carved on the gazebo which was built over one of the mineral springs in French Lick. I am thankful that the Pluto company is not bottling this spring water anymore, for more reasons than that one. The city of French Lick has been known for over 15o years for its healing waters. At the beginning of the 20th century, two hotels/health resorts were built here. One, West Baden Hotel, was famous for its dome, the largest in the world at that time. It was also dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. Over the years it fell into disrepair and for thirty years it was a Jesuit monastery. In 2007 it was remodeled and returned to its former beauty. I will post a picture of it here. French Lick Springs Hotel was also redone with a casino added to it. Both hotels are National Historic Landmarks. After touring both hotels we walked the town of French Lick. All we found were a handful of worn-out buildings. There seemed to be a strange disconnect between the dingy town and the opulence of the hotels. I have to mention one other town, which we passed through, on our way to French Lick. It was the town of Orleans. We happened to be there during their Dogwood Festival. The festival did not have any events we were interested in, but we did drive around the town square and some of the streets off the square. There were blooming pink and white dogwood trees all over town, the heaviest cluster being in the square. Quite beautiful to see, and definitely added color to an otherwise gray town. My apologies to anyone who lives in either French Lick or Orleans for my disparaging remarks. Maybe my senses got over-loaded after touring Columbus and I now expect every town/city to look like that city. The economy of the area must certainly always be considered.