The Mentone Springs Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is the oldest hotel in the state of Alabama. The Hotel was built in 1884 by Dr. Frank Caldwell from Pennsylvania. The physician was living in the home of John Mason, who had come from Iowa a decade earlier. When the hotel was finished but still lacking a name, Mason's daughter, Alice, told of reading accounts of Queen Victoria's visit to a place called Mentone in France. The news item had given the meaning of Mentone as "a musical mountain spring." She suggested that the same name be given to this spot where a rippling mountain spring flowed. Dr. Caldwell liked the idea and named his new Inn the Mentone Springs Hotel.
The Mentone Springs resort was widely advertised as one of the most healthful and attractive spots in the south during the season from June to October. Recreation available at the resort included swimming and fishing in the river. Tennis, bowling, croquet, billiards, box golf, dancing and a playground for children were all provided for guests. In addition, two springs on the hotel grounds, called Mineral Springs and Beauty Springs were believed to have strengthening and curative properties. Beauty Springs was reached by means of a shaded pathway, which led along the brink of the mountain for a distance of about 200 yards. Nearby Mineral Springs, sometimes called Loring Springs, was sheltered by a two-story pavilion overlooking Wills Valley, two thousand feet below.
Between 1918 and 1920 the property was sold several times and unfortunately, the effects of the depression made it impossible for the owners to maintain the hotel in a satisfactory condition to accommodate such large crowds. The Baptist assembly in 1931 was the last to meet at Mentone. The Mentone Springs Company leased the hotel to several different operators, none of which was able to achieve much success during this period and the hotel closed for several years. It was purchased July 4, 1950 by Ben Hammond of Rome, Georgia and opened to the public once again.
The Mentone Springs Hotel, Bed & Breakfast and Caldwell's Restaurant is now owned and operated by Andy Talton who has worked hard in returning the Grand Ol' Lady back to her glory days. He and members of his staff invite all to come and rest on the front porch; to enjoy her beauty and tradition.
Address: 6114 Alabama Highway 117
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