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“Mental suffering is the worst of all human illness. Yet, curiously, 75 percent of this illness is the result of self-pity,” reads an editorial quip in the April 1927 edition of the “Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter,” a journal devoted to health, happiness, news comment on community and human affairs published in Thermopolis.

Other interesting comments – maybe, or maybe not, factual – follows. Read with an open mind and then judge or just enjoy these stories from the “Health Reporter” of 1927.

Old timers

Mr. John Sherlock and son Mr. Richard Sherlock, old-time residents of romantic South Pass, are at the Washakie Hotel and Baths for a week, coming up from Casper where they have been as witnesses in the Ediin murder trial. Mr. Sherlock is one of the oldest citizens now in the State of Wyoming. His people came into the state in 1868, and Mr. Sherlock has resided in the South Pass district almost continuously since that time.

It is quite a treat to hear old timers like “Billie” Simpson, Colonel George Sliney and Mr. Sherlock discuss the days gone by. Many bits of real history are often told in these meetings which, if written, would add materially to the recorded history of early days in Wyoming. Mr. Sherlock remembers the days when trappers observing the steam from the springs thought it the smoke of Indian encampments and in haste turned back from the summit of Copper Mountain from whence they observed it. In all these years past Mr. Sherlock has believed in the merit of the Big Horn Hot Springs Mineral waters and has proven his faith by repeated visits and always with happy results.

Personal mention

Everybody knows Eugene McCarthy, the genial, prominent sheepman from Casper. Eugene has made the Washakie Hotel his home for two or three weeks twice and three times a year for lo these many years. He believes that more good is accomplished here for humanity than anywhere else on earth according to the population served. Mr. McCarthy is an honest Irishman and believes in honest treatment and natural remedies. His out-of-door life has taught him the wonder of nature and her disposition to care for her children if given opportunity. The management of the Washakie Hotel and Baths swear that Mr. McCarthy is a clean character because he takes two baths a day, some days.

Mr. J.G. Nygren, of Oshkosh, Neb. is on his first visit to the wonderful Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs and is stopping at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. “J.G.” ever wears a genial smile, but since his course of baths, he just beams. All his hometown friends will be coming to the Washakie as soon as they have seen him after his return home.

What’s a chiropractor?

The Chiropractor of today undoubtedly has the “Indian sign” on the “Yerb Doctor” of recent years. Your chiro doesn’t even gather roots, neither does he dose or physic. His blacksmith physical structure is such that he could throw a physic scare into a Jack Johnson. If a misguided invalid is led into his dormer room office and yields in fear and trembling to having his or her back cracked to cure ulceration of the stomach there’s always the possibility that the patient won’t die of stomach trouble. The homo americanus was a noble race, even if they were Indians and believed in signs, mystery and “yerbs,” but he, as a race, couldn’t stand the treatment.

The healing powers of the world’s largest mineral hot springs, located across the Big Horn River from Thermopolis is promoted in a 1927 publication. It notes:

The Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs flows 18,600,000 gallons of water each 24 hours at a temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit and carries 28 different minerals, most of them known to be essential to good health. Many diseases are cured here after the doctors have tried and failed as explained in the following case histories, as reported in the April 1927 “Health Reporter.”

Have you ever known the anxiety of weeks at the bedside of a son 14 years old who as the result of scarlet fever, was left with Brights Disease and uremic poisoning? Such has been the trial of Mr. Jess Beadle, of Roundup, Mont., whose son George was so stricken that the doctors in attendance could do no more for him. With George so ill that death was momentarily expected, Mr. Beadle and his sister, Mrs. James Turner, of Glenrock, who had been with the boy in Roundup, boarded the train for Thermopolis. Arriving at the springs the boy was at once placed in the baths. Relief was immediate. George has been at the springs now for a week. His condition as we go to press is such that Mr. Beadle is planning to return home while Mrs. Turner remains during the time that George is convalescing. Mr. Beadle’s one complaint since coming here has been that he did not know about the springs sooner.

Dan Sutherland, “Cheerful Dan,” as he is called by those who have met him here at the springs, came back this month after an absence of two years. When Dan was here before, he had a rheumatic hand, which was so bad that it appeared that he would lose the use of it. Before Dan left the hand was entirely cured of rheumatism, and though it was weak for a time, he says it is sure OK now. Dan will bathe for three weeks just in interest of good health. If everyone made a practice of doing this every year the average life of man would be prolonged 10 years.

Among the more recent arrivals at the Springs are Mrs. Augustus Ritz and Mrs. Susie Turluk of Glendive, Mont. Mrs. Augustus Ritz came to Thermopolis some years ago for treatment for dropsy and was entirely cured and upon this fact is founded her supreme faith in the medicinal value of the Big Horn Hot Springs mineral water. They are stopping at the Washakie Hotel and Baths while here.

Steve Markovich and Matt Prink, from the Dubois Tie Camps, are here to take baths and treatment after a winter of strenuous labor and exposure in the logging business. These men are wise. They know that after a winter of hardship nature will be ruthless in her demand for rebuilding their systems before another hard task is placed upon them. They are taking baths and treatment at the Washakie Hotel and Baths.

Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Allen of Riverton are at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. Mr. Allen, a prominent Riverton attorney, will play golf as well as take the baths while here. Our Thermopolis golf course is a joy to real golfers. If our eastern resorts attempted to equal the natural advantages of our delightful course, it would cost them no end of money.

Mr. George Larcome of Shelby, Mont. is a convert to the theory and result of natural treatment as given at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. The drinking and use of the mineral waters for bathing soon clears up the cause of most diseases and nature does the rest.

For the first time, those who need the Big Horn Hot Springs Mineral Waters shipped to them in their homes will be able to have this service. Mrs. Edleman, proprietor of the Big Horn Hot Springs Bottling Works, will bottle these wonderful mineral waters for shipment to your homes. See ad elsewhere in this issue.

Since this week’s “Wyoming Livestock Roundup” is featuring Hot Springs County in its Fall Cattlemen’s Edition, it seems appropriate to pass along some historical information we discovered on the internet – so it must be true, right?

Here’s just a small part of the valuable information discovered in the April 1927 issue of “The Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter,” published in Thermopolis. I cannot guarantee its accuracy, but it sure makes for interesting reading. Enjoy:

That the World May Know

The State of Wyoming came into possession of the Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs and the one-mile square upon which they are located, known as the Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve, in 1897. From 1897 to 1915 nothing worthy of attention had been done toward development or improvement of the Reserve, except the building of a light steel bridge across the Big Horn River. From 1915 until 1921, appropriations were made by the Legislature, which permitted the construction of water mains for both cold and hot water, the construction of a state-owned bathhouse, the laying out and development of landscape work. Since 1921 and until the present time, appropriation have been made practically for maintenance only and the progress of the reserve as a state property of inestimable value help up just this length of time.

No effort has ever been made by the state of Wyoming to advertise these wonderful springs until 1925 when a state folder was issued for distribution.

We are constantly criticized for the fact that the general public is not familiar with the wonderful results of bathing and drinking these mineral waters. Thousands of people have been cured here of rheumatism, chronic stomach trouble, nervous diseases, blood diseases and skin diseases. These waters accomplish without medicine and without that fearful knife of surgery, the most remarkable results. Our friends have been our advertising medium, telling from their hearts the stories of their cures.

Once each month, this little paper will bring to you the stories of your friends who have been here and are willing and anxious to spread the word regarding the marvel of nature’s most effective remedy, water from the Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs.”

The publication notes,

A bath in the Big Horn Hot Springs Mineral Waters is a joy to which every citizen of Wyoming is entitled. These marvelous springs are owned by the state and state money is being spent to develop them.

If you have a friend who is ill of rheumatism, stomach trouble, neuritis, eczema, paralysis, high blood pressure, blood disease, send his or her name to the "Health Reporter" and advise consultation with our Health Department. Consultation is free.

Personal accounts of the miracles of the healing waters also appear throughout the paper, including,

O.V. Shull of Parkerton, Wyoming, has discarded his crutches and again walks as a man should after the most severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism of his life . . . but, then, that’s a cure for the next time we plunge into this hot subject.

In our last “Postcard,” we plunged into the reporting of the April 1927 issue of a recently launched newspaper appropriately called “The Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter.” It aggressively promoted “The Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs” and the Town of Thermopolis. Here’s what the paper said about the home of “America’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs:”

Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Sturges are our very new arrivals at the Springs. The Doctor has entered into practice and will be the House Physician at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. We have interviewed the Doctor and find him to be of the latest and modern school of his profession, that he has supreme faith in the efficacy of our thermal mineral waters.

Mrs. Sturges expresses her pleasure at being with us and gives us her ‘First Impressions of Thermopolis,’ as follows: “During the time I have lived in Wyoming, at various times I have noticed the pamphlets and articles advertising the city of Thermopolis with its Mineral Hot Springs, the largest and most attractive in the world, and I am pleased to find that it cannot be too highly advertised.

“A tourist coming into this resort either via train or auto may not be so favorably impressed with the surrounding country, with its barren hills and vast acreage of sand and sagebrush, but Thermopolis can be likened unto an oasis in a desert. The fertility of the valley in which it is located surrounded by these beautiful red shale hills, with their peculiar cliff rock formation, makes a most attractive setting. The hot springs with their beautiful colorings and terraces are very similar to those in Wyoming’s National Park.

“The city is very attractive with its exclusive ready-to-wear shops, its decidedly modern form of architecture, wide streets and, last but not least, is the pretty drive out to Washakie Hotel, which is ideally located in the heart of the springs – the outstanding feature of this hotel is that the guests enjoy the comforts of home. We are just one big family.

“I am indeed very favorably impressed with the resort and am glad to know that it is going to be my future home.”

Thermopolis is depicted as a great town filled with delightful folks, including the following:

Inimitable ‘Scotty’

“Scottie,” Mr. James Brown, the man with more friends who love him for his kindness and attention to them while sick, than any other man in Wyoming, was in to our office a few days ago, and it was good medicine just to hear his “Lauder” brogue and feel the warm clasp of his hand.

Scottie is a real Scotchman. When properly inspired, he sings, something like Harry Lauder – that is the same songs – and we think his tongue is just as thick, his brogue just as broad and rich, and his intention to please fully as well evidenced by his effort. No Scotchman would ever be able to hold up his head if he were accused of giving away any worldly goods, but Scottie gives more than one in thousands, all the time – Scottie gives human kindness. There can be no greater gift than this. The Master preached it. All of mankind loves it. The truth of the latter assertion can be easily established by staying at the Washakie Hotel for a few weeks. Always among the first inquiries made by an incoming guest is if Scottie is still here, and the answer has been yes, now, for 14 years.

At least a dozen more stories touting Thermopolis and its great hot springs appear in the 1927 publication . . . but, then, that’s for next time we write.

A party of fishermen enjoying a three-day float on the Platte over the weekend “camped out” on the river bank a few miles below town Monday night, though they camped a little more ruggedly than they had planned to.

The party, using two boats, and including Gil. Blumenthal, Bob Perue and his sons Richard and Norman of Saratoga and Sam Bromguard, Vern Jewell and Walt Carstaors of Greeley, Colo., embarked Monday morning from Pick Bridge below town. They had planned to “dock” at the old Overland Trail crossing to camp for the night, but some how missed their station, and some time later pulled in at Savage corrals.

Jimmie Perue and his brother Ronald had gone to meet them at the crossing, with food and bedrolls. When dusk came, however, the boat had failed to appear, so the boys ate their supper and rolled out their beds. In the morning, suspecting what had happened, they drove to the corrals, where they found the boaters had camped, sans coats, bedrolls or food.

After a hearty breakfast, however, and with still un-dampened spirits, the anglers embarked on the last leg of their trip to the Ft. Steele Bridge. At the corrals, Jimmie and Ronald Perue joined the fishermen, and Richard and Norman brought the truck back to town.

The first lap of the three-day trip was made Sunday from Saratoga to Pick, and all returned to town for the night. The fishermen said the float was an enjoyable one, in spite of their lack of bedrolls, and the fishing was good.

(Bob says he is planting a flag at the old trail crossing soon.)

A news item in the Aug. 12, 1953 issue of the hometown newspaper reported this mishap of local fishermen who were treating their out-of-town friends to a three-day float/fishing trip on the headwaters of the Upper North Platte River.

Youngsters in this area usually learned to row the flat-bottom wooden boats on the river as early as 12 years old. By that age, most were already seasoned fishermen and responsible enough to handle floating the river.

My dad, Bob Perue, would usually take two of us boys in the boat with each of the three of us fishing for an hour and rowing for a 30-minute interval. As my brothers and I – and sometimes even the neighbor kids – became more proficient operating the boat, dad would then start skipping his turn and allow us to fish for an hour and row for an hour while he fished full-time and gave instructions on how and where to guide the boat.

To this day, at the age of 80, I still love to float the river, row most of the time, fish a little, tell a few tales and teach the kids, grandkids and great-grand kids how to navigate the mighty Platte.