The legend of the Bedford Springs and Hotel indicates that in April of 1836, Noah Parker and his wife were on the search for a turkey nest. To take a break, they sat down near a stream. The pair drank from the running water and were shocked at the mineral taste. They had the water tested and discovered the minerals in the springs generated healing. The natural medicinal properties were deemed best for healing kidney ailments. But the special springs drew in people suffering from countless illnesses. Because of the vast appeal of Bedford Springs, the Parkers opened a hotel on the stream. Bedford Springs and Hotel was located right off Highway 42, a perfect destination for tourists. Histories of the property detail beautiful bluegrass that carpeted the hundreds of acres. In 1848, other buildings sprang up around the Bedford Hotel and the destination reached the height of its splendor under the management of the Parker’s son, Nathan.
During its peak, countless Kentuckians fled to the Bedford Springs and Hotel to escape the second cholera epidemic of the state’s history, which ravaged the state from 1848 to 1854. However, the hotel built by the Parkers burned down in 1851, and the pair was forced to abandon the property. This was not the end of Bedford Springs, though, the destination continued to thrive. After the Civil War, southerners fled to Bedford to stay in cottages and avoid the Yellow Fever epidemic. In addition, Kentucky politicians visited the haven during the 1900s to escape the busyness of the city. The city of Bedford has since developed, but a resort-like Bedford Hotel and Springs has not graced the land since the business of the Parkers.
Marker #1823 was dedicated in 1993 by the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Department of Highways. It reads: Bedford Springs and Hotel. Mineral springs discovered ca. 1840 by Mr. and Mrs. Noah Parker, who found water unusual in taste and of medicinal value. The Parkers soon erected hotel and, with son Nathan, owned and managed noted antebellum health resort, which fostered Bedford's growth. After the 1851 cholera epidemic, resort declined. The former hotel burned in 1967.