On the Road to Wellness

Dr. William Bowles
French Lick Resort has a history as a location for health and wellness.

It all began in 1845 when Doctor William Bowles, a physician from Paoli, Indiana established French Lick Springs Hotel. Dr. Bowles wanted to encourage travelers to stop and stay while exploring the healing properties of the mineral springs found in the area.

Tom Taggart
Former Indianapolis mayor, Tom Taggart, eventual owner of the hotel, built on the “healing springs” concept at the turn of the 20th century when it was all the rage to “take the waters.” Taggart increased the size of the hotel’s “spa area” and lobbied for a special spur of the Monon Railroad to be placed near the hotel so that daily runs could be made to and from Chicago. Guests from far and wide came to enjoy bathing and drinking from these famous mineral springs. In fact, Pluto Water became so popular, Taggart had a new bottling house built for his Pluto Water operation. Pluto Water was sold throughout the United States until the 1970s when it was deemed not to be as healthful as first thought.

West Baden Springs Hotel
West Baden Springs Hotel was also built to showcase the local mineral water and promote its healing properties. The hotel was originally called Mile Lick but the name was changed in order to create a tie-in to the famous mineral spas of Baden-Baden, Germany.  West Baden had four mineral springs where guest could partake of the waters. Sprudel Water became an instant hit with turn-of-the century socialites for its “moving properties,” and for its reputation of promoting health and vigor. 

Fitness Center at French Lick Springs Hotel
While drinking the mineral springs water is not suggested today (although you can still bath in the mineral waters at both hotel spas), health and wellness are still high on the resort’s agenda. This fall, the resort went back to its roots of promoting health and fitness by creating wellness programs for guests and groups. Now guests can choose from different types of seasonal fitness events like Fall Color Hikes, Tom the Turkey Family Walk/Run and Turkey Tabata - a high intensity interval training session. But adults aren’t the only ones to have some fun while getting fit. According to new fitness director Kaci Wher, “There are also fun things for the kids to do like a Christmas Movie Workout and a Fitness Frenzy, both designed to burn off that indoor holiday energy.”

The wellness plans are expected to take about six months to implement and will focus on overall health and fitness. Guests, groups and employees can take advantage of this opportunity to experience a resurgence of resort wellness into a third century.

By Joy Neighbors