Sulphur Springs Grotto

Sulphur Springs Grotto (HM1DGH)

Location: Piedmont, CA 94611 Alameda County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 49.335', W 122° 13.974'

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The Healing Powers of Mineral Springs

The first recorded visitor to the sulphur springs grotto is Isaac Holmes, a retired U.S. Senator from South Carolina, who reportedly installed a bathtub in Bushy Dell canyon in the early 1860s in order to take alfresco baths for his rheumatism.

Walter Blair hoped to capitalize on the curative powers of the water when he bought the park property. According to the newspaper, "The waters of these springs contain sulphur, magnesia, iodine and iron and are claimed by those who have used the waters to have great curative qualities for rheumatism, neuralgia, dyspepsia and kidney ailments." Blair bottled his mineral water and built a decorative gazebo over the spring where passersby could use a tin drinking cup. The gazebo features prominently in a photograph of Mark Twain circa 1869 when he was on a lecture tour in San Francisco and also appears on the cover of the prospectus for Piedmont Park tract in 1877.

When Frank C. Havens bought the park property in the 1890s he installed a new man-made faux stone grotto at the springs. The grotto restoration project was completed in 2007 to celebrate the city's centennial. It incorporates remnants of Haven's grotto.

"What appears as a tremendous boulder has been built deep in hills, and there, in the twilight of concealed electricity, ferns cluster around springs of sulphur and magnesia water, while within a tiny aquarium inserted in the rocky wall, fish dart about, flashing light from their golden fins. It all seems so natural that it is hard to realize that the artistic ingenuity of man had planned and executed such a lovely picture." - Carlotta Sessions, Reporter, Overland Monthly Magazine, 1901
Placed ByPiedmont Beautification Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 8:25am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10S E 567512 N 4186370
Decimal Degrees37.82225000, -122.23290000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 49.335', W 122° 13.974'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 49' 20.10" N, 122° 13' 58.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)510, 415
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 136 Hazel Ln, Piedmont CA 94611, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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