Bullitt County History

Paroquet Springs in Courier-Journal

Leland R. Johnson, compiler


Leland R. Johnson transcribed the following articles and comments from microfilmed images of The Courier-Journal. They are presented here with his kind permission.


1871, July. Paroquet Springs has been purchased by a Louisville Company which has improved it. A large two-story hotel with airy rooms that can accommodate 500 and with a large ballroom has been built and will open on 12 July. Verandahs go around the building at both levels. It has more than 100 acres of ground shaded by large trees with streets and forms a large rustic plateau that no other resort has. The sulfur wells are abundant with unsurpassed medical properties. Salt River near the springs furnishes aquatic sports, and elegant new boats are available for fishing. Good roads are available for driving and riding. Billiards, tenpins, swings, croquet supply amusements, and the best brass and string bands will perform during the season. This resort is 18 miles from Louisville on the L&N main line. Merchants can leave the hot, dusty city in the evening and return to business in the morning. E. H. Fitzhugh, Superintendent. [CJ, 6 July 1871; canal stockholder John Colmesnil had owned and operated this spa before the Civil War; he died in 1871.]

1871, July. At Paroquet Springs, 32 rooms in east wing ready and rest being plastered. The 14 rooms in the old building are all rented. It opens on 15 July and the table will be set at 6 p.m. Anderson, colored steward for years at Kentucky Club in Louisville, will be in charge of cuisine. All rooms open to the spacious verandahs. Billiard rooms and bowling alley are under construction. The bar is next to the library and has some 10-year old brandy from the Kentucky Club. Invalids will find the mineral water excellent; boats are available at the river. The inaugural ball will be on 20 July, and 1,000 invitations have been sent. Haupt's band of Louisville with 16 instruments will play. Dance hall is 80x40 and has 17 windows and 5 doors opening on the verandah. 20 gentlemen of Louisville formed the Kentucky Club of Paroquet and will build a clubhouse like a pavilion along with bath and boat houses on the bank of Salt River. The large new hotel, called Aladdin's Palace was built quickly by Al. Boulier and Brother of Louisville. [CJ, 14 July 1871]

1871, July. Paroquet Springs Ball. Inaugural ball, previously postponed, is tonight and hundreds are invited. Chris Haupt's 16-piece string band plays. L&N runs special to accommodate crowd. [CJ, 27 July 1871]

1871, July. 500 attended Paroquet Springs inaugural ball. 3 trains from Louisville brought in the dancers. Danced from 10 p.m. to daybreak. Col. Fitzhugh was the gracious host. Music included Strauss and Abt waltzes. Many more details provided in this story. [CJ, 29 July 1871]

1872, Feb. Paroquet Springs company failed for lack of capital and management. Its water is as good as any other watering place and it has remarkable curative properties. Mistake made by the company was buying the adjacent grounds at a high rate when a better location for a hotel would have been near the railway on the first hill north of Shepherdsville. If the springs fall into hands of enterprising men with capital, it will be a very valuable property. [CJ, 24 Feb. 1872]

1872, Feb. Stephen Jones announces Paroquette Springs, most attractive and valuable watering place in Kentucky to be auctioned to public by S. G. Henry Company, auctioneers. The springs company is bankrupt and springs will be sold on 11 Mar. In additions to springs, wells, and mineral water, property has 2-story frame building, 110x70, entirely surrounded by 2-story porches, 12 feet wide. It also has stables, bath and boat houses, ten-pin alleys. More details provided in ad. [CJ, 16 Feb. 1872]

1872, Apr. Paroquet Springs. Last year this resort was in disorganized state. The buildings had just been erected, and the first venture for many years had tried to make it an attractive place. This year it has passed into new and experienced hands, and there is every reason and prospect that it will prove one of the most fashionable watering places in the state. [CJ, 9 Apr. 1872]

1872, Apr. Paroquet Springs. Smaller buildings at Paroquette Springs were damaged by recent flood. Club rooms, bath and springs houses were washed away, and the ten-pin alley was tied down with ropes, or it too would have drifted off. Pools of water cover tracts of land along the railroads after 24-hour rain. [CJ, 11 Apr. 1872]

1872, May. Paroquet Springs opens on 25 May 1872. It has been purchased by Paroquet Springs Company of Louisville. Company has built $25,000 worth of new buildings. The most elegant ball rooms in the state are in the hotel, which can accommodate 800 guests. Sulfur well is large and strong. Salt River supplies aquatic sports, good fishing. New boats are furnished for use of guests. Grounds have over 100 acres, shaded by neatly trimmed trees. 2 celebrated florists have been hired to beautify the grounds and walks. Roads available for driving and riding. Billiards, ten-pins, swings, croquet, and other innocent amusements available. One of best brass and string banks will play. Board is $3 per day, $16 per week, $60 per month. Children and servants half price. J. W. Burton of Louisville will superintendent the hotel and grounds. [CJ, 11 May 1872]

1872, May. Excursion of 100 went yesterday to Paroquet Springs for its opening. They returned last night delighted with the trip and their view of the springs. [CJ, 26 May 1872]

1872, June. Paroquet Springs. Owners are throwing this beautiful watering place open to the public to use for picnics and excursions parties free during this season. Col. Burton, superintendent, plans to give a grand opening ball on 25 June. [CJ, 11 June 1872]

1872, June. Grand Ball at Paroquet Springs will be on Friday 28 June. 2,000 invitations sent out and effort made to obtain attendance of the elite of the State. Special trains will run, and two bands will play at dance. [CJ, 18 June 1872]

1872, June. Paroquet Springs. Since it opened last summer, have added a large building besides many neat and cozy cottages. It has separate bathing houses for men and women, billiard rooms, barber shop, ball room with splendid music, healthy water. Louisville merchants can leave families here in summer at 8 a.m. and return from their businesses to them at 5 p.m. J. Woodson Burton is superintendent. W.H. Booth and J. W. Kingman are clerks, and Herman Asher is the steward. Here are no markets to go to, no obstinate servants to see after, no details to be attended to, and nothing to harass the mind. All is repose and enjoyment. Will have a grand ball on 28 June and a grand banquet. There are 120 rooms neatly and costly furnished. Mrs. Murray is the housekeeper. Many amusements. Large bunch of minnows received yesterday and boats with ladies, gentlemen, and music went out on the river last night. One amusing feature is "Whistling Hense, Who takes care of the guests and entertains them by his renditions of the Hense Waltz, original variations of the Mockingbird Schottische, a tune in French, and other musical curiosities. The grand ball is the talk of the city, with parties coming from Frankfort, Lexington, Danville, Nashville, Memphis and other places. [CJ, 27 June 1872]

1872, June. Paroquet Springs. The grand ball had fashionable people of Louisville and around Shepherdsville. It was superior to the first of last year. Crowd danced all night. Next day, river full of boats and walks in forest were full. List of women there and what they wore follows. Springs managers decided to hold their grand balls every Saturday night. There will be a hop as usual every Wednesday night. Spa hotel now has 150 residents. [CJ, 30 June 1872]

1872, Aug. Paroquet Springs season was not entirely unsuccessful but the company is closing early to make more improvements. It has had from 100 to 200 guests, and next season may be profitable. [CJ, 24 Aug. 1872]

1873, May. Paroquet Springs will open on 12 June under management of J. W. Burton, late of United States Hotel, and Charles P. Topping, late of Louisville Hotel. [CJ, 31 May 1873]

1873, June. Paroquet Springs is open under Burton and Topping management. Delightful summer resort with reasonable rates. Mr. Jointer is the celebrated meat cook, Mr. Kouns is the pastry cook, and Mr. Hatch is storekeeper and steward, formerly of the old Louisville Hotel. [CJ, 20 June 873]

1873, July. Paroquet Springs ball is tonight and everyone is invited. Last week there were nearly 200 guests at the hall, many from Louisville. Leave on the 3:10 train and arrive in time to dress and stroll before supper. [CJ, 25 July 1873]

1874, July. Many steamboatmen and their families will spend the summer at Paroquet Springs, a nice cool place. [CJ, 9 July 1874]

1876, Aug. Paroquet Camp Meeting for Methodists under Bishop Kavanaugh will start 10 Aug. and continue about 10 days. Lists rates for board and lodging, and tells readers sent reservation to Hall and Lee, Shepherdesville. [Ad in CJ, 5 Aug. 1876]

1876, Aug. Paroquest camp meeting included ministers from the Louisville and the Kentucky conferences of the Methodist church. Long descriptions of the meeting, services, sermons, festivities printed in CJ, 12-22 Aug. 1876]

1876, Aug. Prints thanks of Methodist church to Broadhead, Myers, Calvert, and Terry, owners of Paroquet Springs, for free used of their grounds and hotel for the camp meeting. [CJ, 29 Aug. 1876]

1878, June. Paroquet Springs is now open for guests. Board is $10 per month for businessmen including free railroad pass to Louisville and back everyday. Coles Band will attend with a dance every Wed. and Sat. nights. John W. Hall, proprietor. [CJ,21 June 1878]

1879, May. Paroquet Hotel Burns. J. William Terry brought the news to Louisville; he lives at the "old Guthrie place" 500 yards from the hotel. At 2 yesterday morning he saw the fire and saw the elegant hotel was in flames. He went to scene and saw fire was out of control in south wing, the hotel would be destroyed, and it threatened nearby buildings. J. W. Hall was gone for the night, but his wife and 2 children and her friend, Mrs. Joyce and her two children were in the building. They all got out with nothing but their clothes. The hotel burned to the ground. Terry sent messengers for help to village of Shepherdsville and a large crowd came to save the adjacent buildings. Only by a miracle was the famous 40-room building saved by a shift in the wind. Hall and his family lost all they had in the fire and are now destitute. The hotel was built in 1872 by a joint stock company for $35,000, and later passed into hands of Morris, Southwick & Co., J. B. Curry, John Terry's estate, S. P. Meyers, J W. Calvert, and others. Value now is $15,000 and it was insured for $10,500. (more financial details here). The hotel was a beautiful two-story frame with a metal roof and handsome galleries running its entire length. Fire perhaps started in kitchen which is connected to the south wing by a long porch. There is a possibility that the hotel will be rebuilt in time for the fall season.[CJ, 17 May 1879]

1880, Aug. Paroquet Politics. Reporter describes barbecue at Paroquet in mid-August 1880. Describes wagon trip to Shepherdsville where meets people arriving by train from Louisville; estimates crowd at several thousand. Describes hoisting the flag, drinking the mineral waters, and spitting whole beeves and hogs over the fiery pit. Men mop the meat with butter, salt, pepper. Mentions the games and speeches, a woman smoking a cigar, and a cruel game of paying 10 cents for three throws of a ball at the head of a negro. This was a Democrat rally, for candidate General Winfield Hancock (who lost 1880 election to Republican James A. Garfield). [CJ, 29 Aug. 1880] 1885, May. Shepherdsville is quaint, rambling old place, probably the oldest in Kentucky. It is much older than Louisville and once it was larger than Louisville. From 1808 to 1818 people from Georgia came to Bullitt's Lick Salt Works, 3 miles from this town, for their salt. They came horseback and took what their horses could carry. Jon Younger, 82, lives here and worked in the salt works. There is a large fall in the river here and good place for cheap power, but town is submerged by floods. "Going Up Salt River" originated at West Point; story is a hot race for county sheriff came along in Hardin County and two rival candidates agreed the defeated candidate would row the other from mouth to head of Salt River. He kept his word and rowed his successful competitor to head of the river and it was the talk of county for years after, especially during elections, and it spread all over the Union. About 1839, after salt works closed, iron mines here were tested; they were located near Belmont, but refining was done a few hundred yards below this town. They ran 12-15 years, when they stopped. A year or two later, they opened again and ran until wood supply and other things made it unprofitable. Property is now owned by Tilden, formerly of Louisville. Then, the town had 2 banks; no bank now. Bullitt has some silver but it has not been discovered in paying quantities. Last winter some Louisville men invested money in silver mines but they were defrauded. Paroquet Springs, a famous summer resort, boomed. The hotel was 1 mile east of Shepherdsville and was surrounded by beautiful forest laid off in walks and drives. In the grove were little cottages. About 1875-76 the main hotel burned, but many of the cottages are still standing. The water is sulfur and very strong, but it is in a low place submerged by the river often. The property now is owned by T. B. Curry of Louisville. It was once owned by John Colmesnil. Near eastern boundary of the ground is a grave inclosed by an iron fence, covered by myrtle and in shadow of grove of stunted cedars. Called the "Lone Grave." Capt. Colmesnel, son of the former owner, who buried the lady there, is in KY to see his lawyer, E. E. McKay of Bardstown, on the suit pending in DC to break Admiral Powell's will and he will tell us the story of the grave. L&N RR has splendid iron bridge over Salt River here; it was burned by John Morgan during the war but soon rebuilt by the company and a Union force put to guard it. County is home of Gen. Crist, first congressman from Fourth district, and only one Bullitt ever had. His exploits with Indians were so sensational as to be published after the war by Eastern papers; accounts are similar to what is told in Collins' history of KY. [CJ, 19 May 1885]

1887, July. Camp Hamilton, Paroquet Springs, 29 July. In Louisville party organized on 14 July to leave Louisville and went to L&N station to camp without tents near town and near boating and fishing. Chose former site of Paroquet Springs in Bullitt county less than a mile from Shepherdsville with four in and out trains daily, allowing the men to go to town for business if necessary. When Paroquet Hotel destroyed by fire, ten or twelve years ago, the Bachelors' Hal remained standing. Time and weather worked on it, but some of its forty rooms are still habitable for our purpose. Long disuse allowed the originally sylvan spot to become wild for the romantically included and Salt River is at the camp. Sulfur well is in order and there are several good springs of clear water. Lower floor of the house, built in cruciform design, was cleared and swept for our use, and several tents, one of which with raised sides served as dining hall, dotted here and there in close proximity. Couple of rowboats chained to a wharf and a stout horse and Jersey wagon were available. For our furnishings the Fair was raided. Cots to be returned at half price, camp stool for each, camp rockers, colored paper lanterns, tin wash basins, cooking utensils, and we rented a stove at Shepherdsville. Tableware was delft plates, tin cups for ten or coffee, glass butter bowls and sugar bowls with tops to prevent flies, kitchen knives and forks and spoons, tumblers and platters. Individual baggage was one blanket, one pillow, two slips, two towels, comb, soap, etc. Hammocks, croquet set, games, small music boxes, French harps, guitar. Groceries, canned goods like sardines, came from Louisville. Wagon met us at train and took us to camp. We hunted, fished, boated , drove, walked, sang. Had several nice mess of fish. Wallace McDowell caught a 4.5 pound perch. Scenery along Salt river and Floyd's Fork just above us is picturesque. Strolls to sulfur spring. Favorite walk is to Lone Grave a few hundred yards from the house. Story is that half century ago the owner of Paroquet had lovely a daughter who met a Kentuckian, fell for him, then went home to far South and married another man. Then she died and her last wish was to be buried in a nameless grave shaded by tree that had sheltered the lovers on hill at Paroquet, so brought her body back. No stone marks spot; just an iron fence. Not many days ago we met Capt. Heady who in 1846 helped lay the broken heart in the lone grave. Last week Mr. Carlisle was to speak on our grounds and all Bullitt county would come. We had not heard this great statesman, but he became ill and did not come. John Sneed and Henry Hamilton who live just across the river had been sociable. Mr. Simmons and his family, the owners of Paroquet, are very kind. Days have been heated but we had almost a constant breeze and every night is so cool we have to cover with a blanket. Lists names of the campers, about 24 of them. [CJ, 31 July 1887]

1888, July. SHEPHARDSVILLE HAS A BOOM. New buildings erected lately and more going up. Old courthouse repaired. Kentucky Brick and Tile opened large factory here to make pressed brick and tiles and soon will add machines to make jars, jugs, and stoneware. Paroquet Springs, famous old watering place within half a mile to town, has been refitted and refurbished for the season. Quite an amount of money has been spent to make it attractive and those who have visited this summer have pronounced it very inviting and pleasant. Have plenty salt water and natural gas as fuel to condense salt and are only 18 miles from Louisville. Need a capitalist to start a canning factory for our fine fruit and berry and vegetables raised cheap. [CJ, 16 July 1888]


This is a work in progress. The webpage is copyright 2007 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.


If you, the reader, have an interest in any particular part of our county history, and wish to contribute to this effort, use the form on our Contact Us page to send us your comments about this, or any Bullitt County History page. We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you feel that we have misspoken at any point, please feel free to point this out to us.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/psarticles.html