Archive for December, 2011
One of my hobbies is visiting old and forgotten tourist attractions in Georgia. The kinds of places that we value now either didn’t exist or weren’t valued in years gone by. One can learn a lot about a culture from its leisure activities.
Among my favorites of the places I’ve visited is Radium Springs, located near Albany, GA.
Radium Springs is a natural spring that wells up only a few hundred yards away from the Flint River. The springs, under the name Blue Springs, were popular in the 19th century, but the name was changed in the 1920’s following the discovery of trace amounts of radium in the water. Radium was thought to be a miracle cure for all kinds of medical ailments, and many fad treatments and quack recipes boasted of their radium content.
The water is very clear and very blue. You can see the bottom of the river bed through the water much more easily than in the nearby Flint River. I still wouldn’t drink it, though…
An elaborate hotel and casino were built at the edge of Radium Springs, which was the site of relaxation, dining, and dancing. The casino survived into the 1990’s and was finally demolished after historic flooding in 2003.
The county purchased Radium Springs and maintains a small parking area and overlook with informational signage. In 2010, the county also renovated a portion of the original spring area, including walkways, gazebos, gardens, and more. Alas, the casino has not been restored. There’s no admission charge, so if you’re ever in Albany, stop by!