ABOUT "The Curse of Brunswick Springs"
The curse of the springs The story of the curse begins in 1748, when Abenakis lived near the springs and relied on the natural healing powers of the waters. When a soldier was wounded in the French and Indian War, his Abenaki companions brought him to Brunswick Springs. he springs were called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" due to the belief that the springs from the same source split into six unique mineral waters. (Margaret Lima photo) "Legend has it that they brought him and put him under the springs, and lo and behold, he was cured," says Beverly Kettle, a resident of North Stratford, N.H., a town just across the river. Kettle's father, Henry Savage, built the last hotel that fell victim to fire. The soldier supposedly returned to the springs after the war to bottle and sell the water, and Abenakis objected to the sale of something natural. In the struggle that ensued, legend has it that an Abenaki man and baby were killed. The child's mother, a sorceress, is said to have cursed the springs. "Indians said anyone who tried to profit from the springs would fail," says Brendan Whittaker, Brunswick resident and chairman of the town's select board. He says the subsequent fires were caused either by "that curse, someone with a grudge or accidents." Hotels rise over the water As stories of healing continued to spread, the area began to look like a gold mine at a time when mineral waters were used frequently by the upper classes in Europe. Brunswick Mineral SpringsThe view from the top of the ridge includes the Connecticut River and the White Mountains. (Margaret Lima photo) Kettle says the first house was built on the hill above the springs in 1832. The first hotel, called the Brunswick Spring House, followed in 1860. An early hotel brochure boasts the "medicine waters of the Great Spirit" and "60 guest chambers piped with the water from Brunswick Springs." The hotel stayed in business for several years. From the hotel, on the crest of a hill, the view included the Connecticut River, the Green Mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire's White Mountains, and Silver Lake, on which some say they have seen the ghost of the Sorceress. Others say the lake is bottomless. "In the 19th century, people would apparently take the train to North Stratford (N.H.), and then a horse and buggy in to the springs, to the 'healing waters' as they called them," Whittaker says. Dr. Rowell, a dentist, owned the hotel, and after he enlarged it in 1894, it burned to the ground. He rebuilt shortly after the turn of the century and died in 1910. The land was sold to John Hutchins, who took over the hotel, then named Pine Crest Lodge. Three fires in three years soon aroused suspicion. Pine Crest Lodge burned in 1929, and Hutchins had two more hotels built on the land, in 1930 and 1931, before he gave up. Records list combustion of paint fumes in a storage room as the cause of one of the fires, but causes of the other two have never been determined. "He thought it was a wonderful place," says Kettle, remembering what her father thought of the last hotel that he built. "North Stratford used to have a lot of hotels because of the railroad, but that was one of the nicest." What remains A walk a quarter of a mile into the woods from Route 102 reveals Silver Lake first, now home to multiple beaver dams. Deer tracks cover the area after a recent snow. The ridge rises to the left, and a cement staircase, over a century old, can be climbed to the top, displaying a view across the Connecticut River. Further in, another old staircase leads down to the springs, and visible on the embankment is an old, overturned springhouse. According to Whittaker, the small cement building is engraved with the names of several members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The land around the springs served as a CCC site after the last fire in 1931.
Suitable for all guests and families (HALLOWEEN FUN)
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
The Curse of Brunswick Springs PHOTOS
MAP & DIRECTIONS
Near the 102, Guildhall, Vermont, 05905