Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


EDENBORN, Harry M., Geosciences Division, National Energy Technology Lab; U.S. Department of Energy, Pittsburgh, PA 15236, VESPER, Dorothy J., Department of Geology & Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506 and EDENBORN, Sherie L., Natural & Physical Sciences Division, Chatham University, 128C Buhl Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15232,

The use of therapeutic baths and mineral springs supplemented general medical practices in Europe for over 2000 years, and this tradition was carried on by settlers in North America. At various times during the past 200 years, Pennsylvania has had at least 30 spas that catered to the health and entertainment needs of both invalids and healthy people, and the waters of over 50 additional mineral springs were bottled and sold for their alleged health benefits as well. Spring waters in Pennsylvania vary in their temperature and chemical composition, which consists of varying concentrations of iron, magnesium, sulfur, hydrogen sulfide, radioactivity and salts. Specific springs became well-known for the treatment of specific diseases, while others were more renowned for their recreational activities. In this paper, the historical development of mineral springs in Pennsylvania is presented. We present information on the current status of these springs, from those that maintain viable commercial enterprises (e.g. Bedford Springs and Cambridge Springs), to those that are preserved as historical landmarks (e.g. Reading Mineral Springs and Frankfort Springs), and we relate our attempts at finding the remains of some long-lost and well-hidden sites, such as Parker Mineral Springs in McKean County.