Our StoryThe history of Jemez Hot Springs.
The native people consider the springs to be sacred.
So do we.
Long before the stagecoach brought white settlers here, the Native people of the area used these hot springs for healing and spiritual activities. Centuries ago, it was the ancient Anasazi that frequented them, and later the Towa people (the modern day Jemez).
Healing waters since the 1800s.
Down near the river, you’ll notice an old weather-worn wooden building. If you look closely, you can still read, “Hot Sulphur Spring Water Baths” across the top of it. This is the original bath house of our area and it was built sometime in the mid 1800s.
Back then, the stage coach would bring people out from Albuquerque. They came for the healing waters and would stay on average about a month at a time–it wasn’t a quick trip back then!
Previous owners have recounted many stories from back when the Bath House was in operation. Many of the stories have to do with the healing properties of the water:
“THERE WAS A MAN WHO CAME WITH SUCH BAD ARTHRITIS THAT HE COULDN’T WALK ON HIS OWN AND WAS CARRIED TO THE WATER ON A STRETCHER. HE WAS LOWERED INTO IT FOR HALF AN HOUR EVERY DAY. AFTER ABOUT A MONTH, HE RAN FROM THE BATH HOUSE TO THEIR BACK PORCH TO TELL THEM HE’D BEEN HEALED!”
Another one of the tales was of “A man, with painful corns on his feet, came to help the owners clean out their hot water well. This involved having to stand in the water for most of the day. When he got out of the water, all of his corns were completely gone!”
There isn’t much left of the old Bath House building, but in its heyday it had a gentleman’s side and a ladies side. There was a communal tub on the men’s side and stories say the men would gather and soak while they smoked their cigars and discussed life.
A “steam bath” was available in the front corner on the women’s side. Part of the steamer remains–a cement enclosure with a wooden door and wooden flaps with a hole in them that, when you flip them down, fit over a person’s head. The remains of a pipe at the bottom are where the hot water ran through and created the hot box of steam.
At some point later they added the front “waiting room,” and if you look closely you can still see the words “Sulphur Baths” on that part, too.
The “sulphur” part is a little curious as there is currently no sulfur in the water here. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t back then. There is sulfur in some of the nearby springs today, but we consider ourselves fortunate to have all kinds of beneficial minerals in our water without the smell of sulfur.