The History of DeKalb County, AL - The Mentone Springs Hotel
The Mentone Springs Hotel was
built in 1884 by Dr. Frank Caldwell from Pennsylvania. The physician was living in the
home of John Mason, who had come from Iowa a decade earlier. When the hotel was finished
but still lacking a name, Masons daughter, Alice, told of reading accounts of Queen
Victorias visit to a place called Mentone in France. The news item had given the
meaning of Mentone as "a musical mountain spring." She suggested that the same
name be given to this spot where a rippling mountain spring flowed. Dr. Caldwell liked the
idea and named his new Inn the Mentone Springs Hotel.
The Mentone Springs resort was
widely advertised as one of the most healthful and attractive spots in the south during
the season from June to October. Recreation available at the resort included swimming and
fishing in the river. Tennis, bowling, croquet, billiards, box golf, dancing and a
playground for children were all provided for guests. In addition, two springs on the
hotel grounds, called Mineral Springs and Beauty Springs were believed to have
strengthening and curative properties. Beauty Springs was reached by means of a shaded
pathway, which led along the brink of the mountain for a distance of about 200 yards.
Nearby Mineral Springs, sometimes called Loring Springs, was sheltered by a two-story
pavilion overlooking Wills Valley, two thousand feet below.
Between 1918 and 1920 the property
was sold several times and unfortunately, the effects of the depression made it impossible
for the owners to maintain the hotel in a satisfactory condition to accommodate such large
crowds. The Baptist assembly in 1931 was the last to meet at Mentone. The Mentone Springs
Company leased the hotel to several different operators, none of which was able to achieve
much success during this period and the hotel closed for several years. It was purchased
July 4, 1950 by Ben Hammond of Rome, Georgia and opened to the public once again.
The Mentone Springs
Hotel is on the National Register of Historical Places and is the oldest hotel in the
state of Alabama.
Mentone Springs Hotel
Oldest Hotel in the State of Alabama