Capt. Franklin Ellis389
A short distances east of the village of Stottsville are the celebrated Columbia White Sulphur Springs.
The clayey soils of this locality possess various mineral constituents, whose decomposition produces hepatic waters, manifesting their presence in springs issuing from the hillsides and perforations in the rocks along the gullies. The principal characteristic of the waters are sulphuretted hydrogen gas and sulphuret of magnesia. Several of the most remarkable in this vicinity have received the above name from their sulphurous nature. They are three in number, situated in a vale, and nearly in a line, but a short distance apart. Yet the water of each is different, only two of them possessing positive medicinal qualities, the other having as cool and sweet water as is to be found. The uppermost spring is reputed to possess the strongest water.
The presence of these springs was noted as early as 1830, and some wonderful cures were reported as the result of using their waters. But it was not until 1855 that they engaged public attention with any prominence, or that their real efficacy was fully recognized. That year the late Charles B. Nash, father of the present proprietor, purchased them and opened a house for the accommodation of invalids. Many who had failed to find relief from medical aid were cured by the waters; and they especially obtained a character for their curative properties for cutaneous diseases, dyspepsia, rheumatism, and general debility. Their nature is clearly shown from the following analysis of one gallon of water.
The waters are used internally, and are found pleasant and agreeable to the taste. Means are also provided for using the waters for bathing purposes, there being comfortable baths at the upper spring. Connected with these health-giving fountains are very handsome grounds, where are combined the best effects of hill and dale, adorned by stately oaks and hickory-trees of nature's own planting. They contain about twenty acres, partly situated in the town of Ghent. One one of the most commanding elevations is the spacious "Columbia Springs House," one hundred and thirty feet long and three stories high, with cottages and other conveniences of a well-arranged summer resort adjoining. From the piazza of the hotel is unfolded a variety of charming views. At the base of the hill lies busy little Stottsville; beyond highly-cultivated fields can be descried the winding course of the Hudson, and still farther westward the magnificent Catskills loom up in all their grandeur, now bathed in light, now veiled in misty splendor. It is a scene that fills the mind of the beholder with a sense of pleasurable contentment, and which yearly attracts hundreds of visitors, who are benefited by these scenes as well as by the truly meritorious waters of the springs.