About Us: Our History
Excerpts from the Siftings News available at the Indian Hot Springs
The Indians Were First
Before gold was discovered in the Rocky Mountains and white man took his first bath in the hot springs along Soda Creek, the Ute and the Arapaho Indian tribes used the waters and probably explained them in magical terms as a place primarily for the gods and spirits.
Springs Discovery Recorded
The first specific mention of the hot springs in a published form comes from the diary of George A. Jackson, the man who made the first discovery of placer gold in the Rockies. Jackson amplified his account to some of the members of the Pioneer Association of Clear Creek County who wrote a history of the county in 1918. In this history they reported that Jackson "â€¦ passed into the mountains via Mt. Vernon Canyon toward the head of Vasquez Fork (now called Clear Creek), arriving at what is now known as Bergan Park. They discovered a large herd of elk, which they pursued, to the edge of a precipice. At the foot of which they saw Vasquez Fork frozen hard. A longing to follow this stream and further explore the canyon seized him but his companion deserted him, returning to camp and Mr. Jackson started out the next day alone. Descending to the level of the stream he then followed its source to Grass Valley. As he advanced he saw a dense bluish mist arising from one of the canyons, and suspected it to be from an encampment of Indians, he climbed from the mountainside floundering through snow waist deep, to the brink overlooking soda Creek. He peeked cautiously to ascertain the origin of the mysterious smoke and found it to be a thick vapor mounting from the hot springs located there, since known as Idaho Springs. This was known as the Big Geyser which sank away in 1864 and other small springs bubbled up..."
Miners Used The Springs
It is certain that the miners of the surrounding area along Clear Creek took advantage of the naturally hot waters of the springs to bathe in. Hot water for washing would have been truly exotic to an early mining camp. And while it is pure conjecture, it is likely that Augusta Tabor, H.A.W. Tabors first wife, before Leadville and Baby Doe, was the first white woman to use the Hot Springs. Mrs. Tabor according to her own diary, was the first white woman to arrive at Jackson's Diggins which was also called Sacramento briefly in 1859, when she arrived. Augusta opened up a bakery out of the back of the wagon they brought to Sacramento while H.A.W. worked the sandbars of Clear Creek. It seemed likely that the clear hot spring water on Soda Creek would have been irresistible to a woman in a primitive mining camp.
The registers of the hotel contain a great diversity of names: Frank and Jessie James, William Boney, Sarah Bernhardt, Walt Whitman, H.A.W. Tabor, the Vanderbilts and the Roosevelts. In more modern times a few of the notable visitors have included John Denver, Clint Eastwood, Bo Diddley, John Mc Euen, Donovan, Leon Russell and Doug Kershaw and more. Each and every new person that walks through our doors, dines with us, stays in our rooms, swims in the pool or soaks in our hot mineral baths are as important and famous as any that have come before.