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The Warm Springs at Berkeley Springs

Show Summary - April 6, 2009

Guest: Jeanne Mosier

Jeanne Mosier (Berkley Springs, WV), Travel Berkeley Springs. "History and Health Benefits of Berkeley Springs"

The second guest was Jeanne Mosier, also of Berkeley Springs, WV. Jeanne is a founder of the Water Tasting Festival and also works for Travel Berkeley Springs, the sponsoring organization. She talked about the history of the warm springs and spas at Berkeley Springs.

The mineral springs, according to Ms. Mosier, were well known to Native Americans and were popular with colonists as far back as 1730. Berkeley Springs State Park was founded in 1930 to make sure that the water is free to everyone, always flowing and uncontaminated. The state park is in the center of town and includes the bathhouses.

The town and spa have quite a history. In 1748, George Washington was hired at age 16 by the 8th Lord Fairfax to be part of a survey party. Their survey included the Berkeley Springs area. As a result of Washington's interest in the springs, he became close friends with Lord Fairfax and they visited the springs many times. Washington and several signers of the Declaration of Independence later purchased land at the springs.

(Note: The 8th Lord Fairfax was the first British Lord born in America. As a royalist, despite his connection to Washington, he eventually moved to England, claimed his hereditary peerage and sat in the House of Lords. Fairfax County, Virginia, and the City of Fairfax, Virginia, are named for the 6th Lord Fairfax. The current Lord Fairfax is #14.)

The spa water contains traces of magnesium phosphate, which is supposed to be good for arthritis. There is a manufacturer of homeopathic medicines in Berkeley Springs that uses the water as a basis for all its formulations. The water is considered "sweet," with no carbonation. Ms. Mosier did not know the pH. The water flows at a rate of 2,000 gallons per minute and has a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees.

(Note: According to the Berkeley Springs State Park website, the water contains primarily salt and several other sodium compounds. It also contains carbonic acid and several carbonate compounds, suggesting that the water is probably alkaline. See www.berkeleyspringssp.com).

Categories: Health and wellness; hot springs and spas