Berkeley Springs State ParkEdit profile
Berkeley Springs State Park is a state park located in the center of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The centerpieces of this park are the spa facilities. These waters are currently and historically billed as having medicinal or restorative powers, generally taken internally for digestive disorders or in baths for stress relief. Native peoples visited these springs as did George Washington. The park is located on land which has been used as a health resort since the 1750s, but the land was officially granted to Virginia by Lord Fairfax in 1776. The park is operated by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. In its literature, the park claims to be the only state-run spa in the United States. Water flows from natural mineral springs at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees, emerging from the Oriskany sandstone of Warm Springs Ridge. It contains significant amounts of sulphates, nitrates, and carbonates -- mostly magnesium carbonates. The flow rate varies between 750 to 2000 gallons per minute. The water is available for bathing at two park bathhouses, for drinking from a fountain at the 19th century Gentlemen's Spring House; and from every tap in town since the springs serve as the source of the municipal water supply. The water is also bottled and sold commercially. The historic Roman Bathhouse, the oldest public building in Berkeley Springs, was built in Federal-style architecture in 1815 on the site of an earlier bathhouse attributed to James Rumsey. This original bathhouse, built in 1784, was described as having five bathing chambers and dressing rooms. The current building includes nine separate bathing chambers with tubs capable of holding a total 750 gallons of water heated to 102 degrees. These baths are open to the public daily throughout the year.
Museum of the Berkeley Springs
The Museum of the Berkeley Springs is located on the second floor of the bathhouse. Established in 1984, the museum exhibits various historical items of natural and cultural significance to the springs and town. Admission is free, and the museum is open at least on weekends from March through December.