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Originally published at Tilt-A-Whirl®. You can comment here or there.

Wilhoit Springs, Oregon


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Wilhoit Springs is the site of an old cold spring resort in Southern Clackamas County, Orgeon.  The site was “discovered” by White settlers right after the Civil War in the late 1860’s.  By the 1880’s, a resort was in full swing at Wilhoit.  The resort had a store, a post office that operated until 1928,  cabins along a creek, a hotel with a restaurant serving Continental fare, a mineral water swimming pool, and a pump house where one could pump the mineral water into glass bottles to take home.  In later years, a bowling alley was constructed.  Although one couldn’t take the train all the way to the springs, it did go as far as Molalla (10km north) and a stagecoach was usually waiting at the station to take visitors to Wilhoit Springs.  The water itself, which was analyzed by a German publisher, “Deutsche Hausohatz”, was said to have almost an identical composition to several therapeutic spas in Europe.  With this information in hand, the owners of Wilhoit bottled and sold the naturally light carbonated mineral water to stores and restaurants in the Portland and Salem areas for over forty years.  It was said to have been great for liver maladies, skin problems, and rheumatism.

Wilhoit Springs prospered until the 1940’s, around the time that most natural spas in North America started to decline.  The store apparently operated until the early 1950’s, along with the cabins.  The first and second hotels atthe site both burned down.  After the second hotel was destroyed, it was never rebuilt.

Wilhoit Springs Label

Wilhoit Springs Mineral Water Label (circa 1920's)

The site is now owned by Clackamas County and is open to the public.  Although the advertisement below from the 30’s mentions that it’s only an hour’s drive away from Portland, it took me about 90 minutes.   All that remains now are the caretaker’s home (still in use) and the concrete steps that led to the pump house.  There are two springs at Wilhoit, one artesian soda spring (slightly carbonated) and a sulfur spring that is capped but has a manual old-fashioned pump attached to it that still dispenses the spring water.

Stairs to Old Pump House on Left

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Artesian Well (Soda Springs) at Wilhoit Springs (2009)

Me Pumping Spring Water

Me Pumping Spring Water

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