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Looking Back: 1887, Paso Robles hot springs have ‘unexcelled curative properties,’ cure numerous diseases 

Click here to read the full article, and the full front page, of the September 10, 1887, Paso Robles Leader.

Excerpts from the September 10, 1887, Paso Robles Leader

The Sulphur Hot Springs: Mud Baths and Medicated Waters — Diseases Which May Be Cured by a Sojourn Here.

These renowned springs, whose unexcelled curative properties have been known for ages, to both aborigines and to the white inhabitants of this coast, are located in the heart of the valley, in that portion of San Luis Obispo county which is cut off from the ocean by the lofty Santa Lucia range of mountains. The locality though not over twenty miles from the coast in a straight line, is nevertheless so protected that the chill trade winds of summer, so disagreeable a feature at other less favored spots, never reach here. Neither are the fierce north winds known to the resident of this spot, while malaria is absolutely unheard of. Even without the adjuncts of the mineral water, it would be difficult in the extreme to find another place in all California where such a combination of attractions for the invalid exists.

The hot springs that were within the property of the Hot Springs Hotel in 1887 occupied the “centre of a vast natural lawnlike park” that spread a mile long and half a mile wide. The main springs that were “hot bubbling with gases, rise within the white stone walls of the reservoir,” that fed separate gentlemen and ladies pools as well as private baths, all fed by a flow of 4500 gallons of hot spring water per hour from the reservoir.

“Impurities cannot exist in these baths, as the chemical properties of the water destroy them almost instantly.”

The “famous mud baths” were located about a mile and a half north of the Hot Springs Hotel. More springs were located near the mud bath. Mud was taken from the hot mud spring, dried, screened and thrown into vats to be heated and turned back into mud by the hot spring. Apparently the mud was removed from the vats and changed for new, clean mud every few days.

Diseases That Are Cured At Paso Robles

Suffice it to say that an experience of many years, during which thousands have been beneficially treated here, while unquestionably many have had their lives prolonged, has demonstrated beyond the possibility of successful contradiction that for the cure of rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, paralysis, erysipelas, intermittent fever, eczema, psoriasis, and all kinds of skin diseases, syphilis, diseases of the liver and kidneys, female complaints and many other maladies.

Read previous Looking Back articles


This “Looking Back” view at Paso Robles history comes from one of the hundreds of local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. Several local newspapers, dating from the 1800s, have reported on local, national and world events, providing priceless historical views of our community that are not available from any other source. The Historical Society is seeking community support for the multi-phased Newspaper Preservation Project to help fund the transfer of these aged and fragile pages to microfilm and digital images. See the society website for more information about becoming a member or donating to any phase of this project.

The Paso Robles Daily News is pleased to support this important project. Watch this space for future “Looking Back” articles.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.