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When Hinesville was a spa

Mineral springs drew tourists

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POSTED: September 18, 2012 10:58 a.m.
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The Hines Hotel (originally built as a home by Charlton Hines and now Claude Dryden's office) was one of many local inns that catered to tourists who came here from the late 1800s into the 1900s to "take the waters."

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“Daddy spoke of people coming from near and far back in the 1930s to benefit from the restorative waters,” Hinesville native Sandy Burch  said. “They were just sulfur water, but they attracted many visitors to Hinesville.”

The Hinesville Gazette confirmed that downtown mineral springs provided excellent drinking water and a place for baths. Bath houses were built for the convenience of out-of-town guests who stayed in the Moore House, the Magnolia Hotel and the Caswell Hotel.

In no time, Hinesville had a reputation as a health resort due to the presence of the mineral springs.

“The biggest springs ran from where Shane’s BBQ and the old Board of Education office are located and through downtown,” Burch said. “It flowed between Coastal Bank and the Coca Cola building to the location of the old ice plant, now The Heritage Bank drive-through, on Main Street and went to the Ford Motor Company on Oglethorpe Highway,” she said. “In fact, the ice plant was located there because of the proximity to the springs.”

Former Mayor Fred Mingledorff built the first water system in Hinesville, using the springs.

However, the pumping of groundwater for manufacturing by Interstate Paper dried up the springs.

According to U S Geological Survey data, excessive pumping of wells can greatly influence water levels below ground. If the water is withdrawn from the ground at a faster rate than it is replenished, the water table may be lowered so much that the springs go dry.

Today, residents rely on city drinking water and area spas for restorative health benefits.

 

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