Curiosity got the best of Michelle and I, and today we decided to go see what is out at Castle Hot Springs. I had never checked this out before, and have lived in this region for 25 years of my life. I just recently read about the history of this place, built in the late 1800’s as a spa retreat for the rich and famous of that era. It’s located about 15 miles out in the desert northwest of where we are staying at Lake Pleasant.
Mid-morning, before the heat of the day set in, we took the drive out Castle Hot Springs Road past the north entrance to Lake Pleasant. From there it’s a gravel road with washboards. For 3 to 4 miles it’s a drive through a river bed; not a good drive I suppose if there was a large rain storm. The terrain is quite rough and forbidding in parts. The last turn brings you to a river bank that was poured much like a canal to protect the buildings and vegetation. It’s a really nice looking property, several of the original structures still stand and palm trees were swaying in the slight breeze we had today, too bad there are signs everywhere telling you to keep out and no parking. It would be nice to have this property restored to the grandeur of the past, but I imagine this to be a very expensive task.
The below info was taken from the Arizona Heritage Waters NAU website.
The site enjoys a rich and lengthy history stretching back to the pre-settlement Apaches who attributed healing powers to the hot, clear water that poured out from the canyon rock. Castle Hot Springs served as the first territorial capital of Arizona as well as a retreat for wealthy businessmen, politicians, and even presidents. These waters were advertised as a cure for a long list of ailments and are the source of a verdant oasis in a landscape dominated by cactus and desert scrub.
During its time as the territorial winter capital, Castle Hot Springs housed the governor and a local jail. It has been reported that the building’s balcony served as a convenient site for hangings. The resort attracted many of America’s wealthiest and most well-known families, including the Rockefellers, Wrigleys, Cabots, and Carnegies. Western author Zane Grey also stayed here, as did members of the Roosevelt family. Many were regular visitors, using the resort as an escape from the harsh cold of East Coast winters.
During World War II, Castle Hot Springs was leased to the military to house recuperating pilots, President John F. Kennedy among them. This distinction earned Castle Hot Springs a special dispensation, allowing the American flag to be flown 24 hours a day on nearby Salvation Peak.
Following closure in 1976 after a devastating fire, Castle Hot Springs has since changed hands many times. Arizona State University used the site as a conference center until 1987 when it was sold to a series of private owners. In 1996, another fire destroyed a cottage once occupied by the Wrigleys. The two remaining buildings, pool, and golf course are now maintained by caretakers on the property.
The hot springs are fed by an enormous cistern created by the displacement of tertiary volcanic rock, tens of thousands of years ago. Each day, this underground reservoir produces 200,000 gallons of water at 122 degrees Fahrenheit—the hottest temperature known for a spring which is not volcanically active. The waterfall emerges from a crack in the rock wall, supplying Castle Creek and its three deep pools with water that is quite pure, odorless, and crystal clear. Its superb quality indicates a source depth of 7,000 to 10,000 feet. “”””””””
On the way back to Lake Pleasant off to the right was a canyon opening for sale. It looks like a great place to set a few shipping containers to be placed between the two sides for a penthouse. Just a thought.
The last shot is a lone Saguaro cactus in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been to that place called Nowhere many times. Typically in dreams. But when I saw this cactus I thought of the two small towns in two different states named