Mineral Springs Hotel
124 South Court Street, Paoli
In southern Indiana, the revival of Paoli’s nineteenth-century hotel could be the catalyst for rejuvenating an entire courthouse square.
Around the turn of the last century, people flocked to the Springs Valley to “take the waters,” seeking relief for everything from digestive issues to rheumatism in water from the area’s abundant mineral springs.
In Paoli, a group of local businessmen constructed a hotel across from the Orange County courthouse, hoping to boost local tourism and compete with nearby resorts at French Lick and West Baden Springs. The Mineral Springs Hotel opened in 1895. At a time when the town had no electricity, the hotel offered the luxury of electric lighting in each room, courtesy of a steam-powered generator in the basement, and guests could bathe in water from a sulphur well piped directly into the hotel.
With an opera house in the lobby, a billiard hall, ball room, bowling alleys, even a Greyhound bus stop, the hotel served as the community’s social and recreational center for decades.
The hotel closed in 1958, though various businesses continued to occupy its ground floor until recent years. Vacant and unmaintained, the building is taking on water through a leaky roof, and broken windows leave the upper floors open to weather and roosting pigeons.
The Mineral Springs Hotel is one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings on Paoli’s courthouse square and a community favorite. It needs an owner with the creative vision and financial resources to give it new use.
Saving threatened buildings takes teamwork. You can be a part of that team. Reach out to local leaders. Let them know these buildings are important to you. And support state and local preservation groups.