Grayson Springs

Historical Marker# 768 marks the site of a famous sulfur spa and resort in Grayson County.

Grayson Springs began in the mid 1820s and was owned and operated by M.P. Clarkson. Opened from May 1 until October 1 each year, it flourished from 1825 until the 1920s. The resort was situated nearly three miles from the railroad and five miles from Leitchfield. There are about one hundred white sulfur springs on a quarter acre of land which are said to be more strongly impregnated with sulfur than any other in the United States. They range in temperature, varying from very cold to very warm, with twenty-four mineral springs also located nearby. The springs were valuable for their supposed medicinal purposes, as many people declared the resort was responsible for the prevention of thousands of stomach ulcers, heart conditions, nervous breakdowns, and other maladies. Dr. William Barret was the “hydropathic physician” of the resort.

In the 1900s, Grayson Springs reached its peak while it was owned and operated by the Mercke Brothers. With four hotels on the property – Old New Orleans, Louisville, Main, and Morality – more than one thousand guests could be accommodated in the six hundred rooms.

Spring resorts were located all throughout Kentucky, with at least fifty spas scattered around the state. Containing salt, copper, and sulfur, these springs were supposed to cure a larger number of illnesses. It also offered the wealthy a social environment away from the boredom, summer heat, and pollution of cities. After the turn of the twentieth century, as medicine significantly improved and better transportation allowed for other vacation spots, the spas began to rapidly decline and eventually fell out of favor.