Where the Appalachian Trail meets the French Broad River
Voted the Best Small Mountain Town from Georgia to West Virginia by Blue Ridge Outdoors Readers, Hot Springs, a popular resort since the early 1800s, is situated at the junction of the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River.
The land on which the current Hot Springs Resort and Spa sits has a long history of popular and fashionable resorts—taking advantage of the natural mineral springs on the land first discovered by the Cherokee before white settlers even arrived. Situated on a drover’s trail, the first stopping point constructed here (in 1788) was a tavern which eventually developed in The Depot, a hotel operated by Wade Hampton (who became a governor of South Carolina).
The current town of Hot Springs has several reminders of a school that described most of the downtown streets for almost 45 years from 1886 until 1942. The Dorland Institute (later the Dorland Bell School) began with the arrival of Dr. Luke Dorland and his wife Juliette.
Right on Bridge Street in the heart of the town of Hot Springs is one of the town’s buildings which is on the National Register of Historic Places (1986).Dorland Memorial Presbyterian Church (at the corner of Bridge Street and Meadow) was built in 1900 for the cost of $4000, the money paid by friends of Dr. Luke Dorland.
In May 1917, the town of Hot Springs had a population of 650 but soon the number would increase with the addition of almost 2200 German prisoners. (This would be the largest World War I prison camp in the United States at the time.)
The historic markers in the town of Hot Springs, North Carolina, and the surrounding area tell a story of the area’s rich history. One marks a place from the era when Native Americans were the only residents of the area.