Bullitt County History

Paroquet Springs 1840 Article

The following article is taken from The Louisville Daily Journal, Friday, June 19, 1840. It should be noted that medical understanding at the time of its writing were undependable, to say the least.


Having passed some days of the last and present week at these celebrated springs, we will give such a description of them as we are able, for the benefit of those of our readers who may contemplate spending the hot summer season in one of those agreeable retreats, afforded the invalid or the man of leisure, by our numerous watering places.

Paroquet Springs were first opened in the summer of 1838. They were visited that season by only a small number of persons, principally invalids. The virtues of the water having been, however, sufficiently tested to become tolerably well known, the proprietors made extensive preparations for the reception of visitors the next season; and during the last summer (1839) found their boarding house, cottages, etc., crowded to overflowing. The greatest number of visitors at Paroquet, at one time, is said to have been about two hundred and fifty; and none, we are persuaded, came away otherwise than thoroughly impressed with the conviction that this was destined, at no distant doy, to become the moat celebrated watering places in the western country. Large additions have been made to the buildings during the past winter and spring, which will enable the proprietors to accommodate this season between 300 and 400 persons. In natural beauty and loveliness, Paroquet has no rival among the different watering places we have visited; and improvements are daily going on under judicious management, which will render the spot one of the most lovely and attractive summer retreats to be found in the Union.

Paroquet Springs are situated in Bullitt county, Ky,, twenty two miles south of Louisville, and within half a mile of the little village of Shepherdsville. The grounds belonging to the establishment occupy about two hundred acres, along the west bank of Salt River. You approach them from the west aide, through a young grove of hickory, cedar, oak, etc. The middle of the grounds is a sort of table land, quite level, sufficiently elevated to be always dry, thickly carpeted with grass, and shaded with a beautiful growth of young hickory, cedar, oak, sugar-maple, locust, buckeye, ete., all of nature's own planting and set in her own graceful irregularity. Here and there occurs a small sunny glade, in the middle of which a venerable oak rears its head and spreads abroad its giant branches - a solitary sentinel of the spot around which its companions of a former age have long since mouldered into dust. From this level area, the land slopes away gracefully on the east and north-east to the river, along the banks of which, and also in the rear of the principal row of cottages, still stands is heavy growth of timber, affording a deep and sombre shade, rendered often more dense by the thick foliage of the wild grape-vine, whose giant folds have encircled the oak and elm. Along the south side of this area a small stream has cut a channel through the lime rock, resembling a narrow canal; and down to this small stream several little green valleys wind from the table land above.

The grounds are tastefully enclosed, and walks of gravel or bark wind through them in different directions underneath the trees. A line of neat cottages is built upon the north side of the level area; and across this area, and fronting them, at a distance of a hundred and fifty or sixty yards, stand the boardingehouse, dining-hail, bath houses, etc. Seventy-five yards west of the boarding-house the proprietors have just erected a ball-room, 108 feet by 32. Salt River affords excellent fishing, and the woods for many miles around furnish plenty of game to the sportsman. For those fond of rowing or sailing there are convenient boats upon the river; so that persons can go with oar or sail 'up Salt River,' or down, or - across it. And for the information of those, who, having never tried it, are haunted with an indefinable dread of being 'rowed up Salt River,' we can assure them, from our own experience, there is, after all, nothing fearful sin the operation: Nay, when as last summer, we were favored with the company of beautiful and charming ladies we found, it a most delightful kind of navigation -- The banks of the river are highly beautiful, and the stately trees that skirt the water's edge, put forth their long arms to caress the stream as it passes quietly and gently by.

There are three mineral springs at Paroquet, situated within a quarter of a mile of each other, and all differing in their medicinal properties and virtues. That which is principally used, is about one hundred and fifty yards east of south from the boarding house, and stands near the small stream we have mentioned as flowing on the south side of the grounds. The water, from taste merely, we should judge to be impregnated with salt, sulpher, iron, and magnesia. Its virtues are very remarkable. We had an opportunity, last summer, of observing its effects upon some very obstinate diseases, in their worst stages. One gentleman, Capt. M., of one of our steamboats, was brought to Paroquet so severely afflicted with the rheumatism that he could not get out of the carriage without much assistance, nor move one step without crutches. He passed ten or twelve weeks at the springs; and more than ten days before he left, we actually saw him in the ball-room dancing a cotillon. He left his crutches at the springs, (where we recognised them the other day,) and is now commanding a steamboat as formerly.

We saw also quite as wonderful effects produced upon the same disease, in the case of a lady of eighty years old. She came to Paroquet quite bowed together -- one hand resting upon her ancle. We saw her after she had used the water but ten days; she was walking about nearly erect, and said she felt entirely recovered. She remained about three weeks; and though previous to her use of the water she had not walked fur three years, since that time she is said to have continued to move about quite comfortably for a person of her great age.

Mr. Colmesneil has associated with himself in the management of the establishment Mr. Noble, late of Lexington, whose polite and gentlemanly attentions to visitor will be well recollected by those who frequented Paroquet last season. Under the direction of two such gentlemen, the establishment, with all the advantages we have enumerated, must prosper.

We prcsent below an analysis of the water of these springs, kindly furnished us by Professor Vandell, of the chair of Chemistry in the Medical institute.

From a careful analysis of the water, and a good deal of experience in the use of similar mineral springs, I feel quite safe in expressing a favorable opinion of their remedial qualities. In composition, they very closely resemble some of the best springs of Europe, and some of the most popular in this country, and, of course, are adapted to the same tribe of diseases The spring in most general use belongs to the class of salino-sulphur waters, and possesses the properties of the famous Harrowgate of England.— It contains a large quantity of sulphuretted hydrogen gas, some carbonic acid, much muriate of soda, smaller quantities of the muriates of lime, and magnesia, with traces of sulphates of soda, magnesia, and lime, and carbonates of the same -- most of which ingredients are well known to be medicinal.

The spring which rises within a few paces of the above, is interesting from the peculiarity which it is said to possess, of exciting nausea and free vomiting, when drank even in moderate quantities. I have not been able to detect any new or peculiar element in this spring, to account for this singularity, and should like to have it established by some decisive experiments. It contains a larger proportion of the salts of lime and magnesia, which impart to it a bitter taste, and may be the emetic agents.

The Epsom Spring, which rises in another part of the grounds, belongs to a different class of waters; and closely resembles the Epsom Spring of England. Its characteristic ingredient is Epsom salts, which the taste easily recognizes. Besides this substance, it is impregnated with carbonic acid, carbonates of lime and magnesia, sulphate of lime, and muriates of lime and magnesia. It is laxative and diuretic. The cases of cure effected by the use of these waters, particularly the salt-sulphur, are well authenticated and interesting. Thev are especially adapted to dyspepsia and of ctions of the liver.

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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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. 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: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/ps_1840article.html