Forgotten Mineral Spring Resort in North Carolina

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Jackson Springs Resort | Moore County, NC | Founded c. late 1700s

Jackson Springs was founded in the late 1700s when William Jackson discovered a spring that would later be named for him. Word of the curative benefits of this mineral water spread and soon, visitors began coming to the springs, looking for their own sip of cure.

A newspaper article from the North Carolina Gazette, Fayetteville, NC, on Thursday, 2 August 1877 said: “The good old Jackson Springs’ – the richest treasure the county affords…they present quite a romantic appearance to the traveler, who seldom passes without tasting their water, and, when he has once tasted it, not a full, gushing goblet could tempt him to leave it.”

Another article from later that year said about the spring water: “The water of Jackson’s Springs is undoubtedly possessed of rare medicinal and health-restoring properties, from the testimony given by intelligent persons who have used it, and from the cures it has accomplished. It is especially beneficial in all disorders of the liver, and it is claimed to be an almost unfailing specific for dyspepsia.” (North Carolina Gazette, Fayetteville, NC, Thursday, 6 September 1877).

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The rail depot where travelers would arrive to stay at Jackson Springs Resort.

Plans were developed to make the town into a health spa and recreational resort and in 1890, a 120-room hotel was built. A spur railroad line from the Asheboro & Aberdeen Line brought service 6 times a day- delivering travelers to the health resort.

The proprietor in this era was Mr. R. R. Ross, who oversaw the luxurious Victorian-style hotel which boasted electric lights, baths, steam heat, with a a large front porch. It had steps that led down to the spring and the dance pavilion. In 1902, guests could stay at the hotel for $1.50-$2.50/day or $7.00-$10.00/week. By this time, the resort was so popular that they had to turn guests away due to overcrowding in the Summer of 1902. The small community of Jackson Springs was bustling. Complete with a drugstore, bowling alley, train depot, a school, and other businesses.

A postcard marked 1905 showing the Resort Hotel at Jackson Springs. Do NOT reproduce this copyrighted image.

The town was well-renowned locally for its flowing springs of mineral water, but soon, it would gain national notoriety. In 1904, members of the Page Family, who were regular visitors here, took water from Jackson Springs to the St. Louis Worlds Fair. It earned 2nd best mineral water in the United States, winning the silver medal.

According to local doctors, the water from Jackson Springs “makes sick folks well” and was often recommended by them for the treatment of kidney issues, indigestion, and insomnia. Its notoriety grew so much that the town started bottling the water for shipment. For $3/case, households could purchase 12 glass bottles of mineral water from Jackson Springs, shipped to them via railcar.

The Water Bottling Site and Railroad, circa 1900s

The small but bustling community prospered through the 1920s but tragedy struck in 1932 when the hotel caught fire and most of it was lost. Followed by The Great Depression, recovery for the resort was impossible and the area began to decline quickly.

The spring house, depot, and public house were empty for many years and had fallen into disrepair. In 2007, the Moore County Historical Association took on the task of restoring the old depot.

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This is the remains of one of the public buildings that served guests at the Jackson Springs Resort. The grand hotel stood on the hill behind this building.
This is the remains of one of the public buildings that served guests at the Jackson Springs Resort. The grand hotel stood on the hill behind this building.

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  1. It is quite a shame that NC does not have a governor that would bring investment into the state for the this place or others!

    1. “120 room hotel” yikes! Rail service six times a day via a dedicated spur-yikes! This place was big time. Once I read 120 rooms my subconsious jumped to fire, that was the death of many if not most large wooden structures of this period.

  2. My mom was born in 1930 and we would drive all over past haunts in Moore and Montgomery counties.
    I remember her telling me on one of our visits to this spot that train loads of people would travel here and it was a big deal. She mentioned dancing but not the water if memory serves me. Sometimes you can tell more by how they said it, than what they said.
    I knew it was a big deal.

  3. Lovely article. So many places like this throughout the Appalachian mtns.
    But what about the water. Are the springs still active and safe?

    1. My husband and I got married there in 2010, and live really close to this. The Springs still run through and the old train station is set up like a small public museum of their history. It’s a pretty place with a pavilion to have a picnic.

  4. I grew up in the rural route of Jackson Springs. My parents met at a dance there. There was also a large man made lake there that burst. I don’t recall the year, the woods reclaimed the lake bed and in the winter if you look closely off the low shoulder of the road you can see the old dam.
    When I was young many of the old locals had fond memories of the once thriving community.
    When I tell the people who moved here that Jackson Springs was a bustling resort before nearby Pinehurst they hardly believe me. Thanks for this wonderful story about our community.

    1. I have a few tickets from the train depot that I found on the ground under the floor boards when I visited years ago along with a small metal bucket which I also retrieved from the same spot. My father’s family lived right the in that building just above the depot when he was a little child in the 1930’s

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