Bladon Springs State Park is a 367-acre Alabama State Park at Bladon Springs, AL that is centered around four mineral springs. Park facilities include campsites, shelters, tables, and grills.
This property, originally owned by John Bladon, was referred to as Bladon Springs because of mineral springs located on it. James Conner opened the property to the public as a spa in 1838 after the mineral springs became known for their “healing” properties. By 1845, the grounds contained many small cottages, with a capacity for 100 guests. In 1846 a grand Greek Revival style hotel was constructed as the center piece of the spa. The hotel had a capacity for 200 guests. It was one of the largest wooden hotels ever built in Alabama. The hotel featured such amenities as a large ballroom, a bowling alley, a billiard room, a hotel bar in the basement level, and even a skating rink. Surrounding the hotel was a latticed pavilion over the main spring, bath houses, and croquet grounds. The springs, along with the hotel and spa, earned Bladon Springs the nickname “Saratoga of the South”.
In time a small town, also named Bladon Springs, developed around the hotel and spa. It featured many homes built as summer residences. The hotel continued to operate, though limited in scope, during the Civil War. By 1870 it was once again in full operation. After the turn of the century, when mineral springs began to diminish in popularity, the hotel and spa fell on hard times and eventually closed. The empty hotel was used as sleeping quarters for logging crews and others until 1934 when the state purchased the property. The state then converted the hotel into apartments for use by state employees, until the hotel burned down in 1938. All of the cottages were eventually demolished or moved. The pavilion over the main spring was the only structure remaining by 1960. Today the only reminders of the site’s history are the springs themselves.
This Alabama State Park is located at Bladon Springs in southern Choctaw County. GPS coordinates of the park entrance are 31.734774, -88.198788.
Photographs that are provided include an 1877 picture of the Baldon Springs Hotel (photo courtesy Alabama Department of Archives and History).