The first place we had decided to see was Radium Springs in Albany Georgia. My dad had taken me there when I was very young and I remember swimming in the spring vent. I think I was about six years old at the time. So it had been more than five decades since I had been there, but I vividly recall swimming in those cold, blue waters.
Until the late '90s, Radium Springs had a large, abandoned hotel sitting above it. This was referred to as "the Casino" and it was a very impressive building. In its day it had been a major vacation destination for wealthy white folk who came from far and wide to spend time in the lush interior, to swim in the phenomenal spring, to go horseback riding, and to play golf on the (I'm told) fine course that was then present. Apparently no less than Bobby Jones had played the course.
The Depression put an end to most of that and by World War II the military had taken over the building so that it could serve as a place for officers to vacation, relax, and recuperate from deployment overseas. After that the building was pretty much completely abandoned. Subsequently a series of mighty floods following the course of the Flint River inundated the casino doing major damage to the building. The last flood did so much damage that any idea of restoring the structure was out of the question. Thus, the Casino was slated for destruction and soon met the fate that every man-made building must face sooner or later.
These days, all that is left of the old hotel and resort are the walls of the bottom floor of the main building, and the facades of a few more out-buildings that serve as decoration. The fine rock walls that line the springs and which were used in the construction of small shelters and gazebos are also there, alog with a bridge leading to a small island in the center of the main spring.
In addition, the city of Albany has created a fine garden and park around Radium Springs. There is ample parking, some short trails to walk, and plenty of opportunity to sit and take in the beauty of what is called one of Georgia's Seven Natural Wonders. The spring was as beautiful and awe-inspiring as my child's memory recalled. However, these days no swimming is allowed in the spring. So walking down the stairways to take a dip in those cool, clear waters is something that is with us now only in memory.
|Well maintained gardens.|
|The remains of the old hotel.|
|Turn of the century rock work.|
|An extremely deep spring vent.|
Video of Radium Springs, Georgia.