The Elgin Springs Remedy
In 1850, Hiram Allen would discover Elgin Spring on his property near Vergennes, and knew he had found a way to turn a profit during the spring hotel craze of the antebellum age, a popular therapeutic treatment at that time.
He built an elegant Greek Revival addition onto his cottage style farmhouse and turned his property into a hotel, located on the crest of sloping pasture lands, with a beautiful view fading into the rugged Adirondacks in the distance. The waters from the spring were peddled to patrons for their supposed medicinal properties, and among many things, were said to “purify blood”.
An analysis of Elgin Springs written in 1889 describes the springs to be so perfect in character that they were encouraged to be comparable to other famous springs across the globe.
But as with most health crazes, it came and went. The business prospered for 20 years until 1870 when it closed for good. After that, it became a private residence and changed hands until the 1970s. By then, the house had been deteriorating due to neglect as the years passed.
The town of Panton eventually condemned it, which is the reason for its abandonment. The current family who owns the property used the house for salvageable materials – selling off pieces of the house to people that wanted period details for their own house renovations. They have apparently been approached a few times by curious people wishing to purchase the property, but the family doesn’t wish too sell it.
Today, the people who used to sing their praises here have long been dust and bones, and a walk around the property is waltzing through memories, playing those sad songs like they were alive.
It was a white hot Vermont afternoon when I came across this wild abandoned house. Everything was in bloom, the plants wearing a brilliant green that was under competing blissful cerulean skies. The house sat pretty close to the wide shoulder of 22A, a thunderous roar of cars coming at a constant pace, traveling the long distance between Vergennes and Fair Haven. But we might have otherwise been in another world, the thick amount of foliage that had began to grow over the house provided ample invisibility from passersby. It was a magnificent house, it’s elegance still golden. Though what had been left behind was sparse, there was just enough for the imagination to latch onto.
Though it was once a hotel, it was the bones of a private residence I was exploring. The ruins of the interior retained all it’s original character, and though what had been left behind was sparse, there was just enough for the imagination to latch onto.
The whole place was practically being ensnared by vines and trees, adding a surrealistic quality to its decayed beauty. It was almost like mother nature was trying to demolish this place herself, saying its future was gone, using her roots and plants to pull this house down towards the earth, reclaiming what was once hers.
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