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Impressions of Thermopolis

Written by Dick Perue

In our last “Postcard,” we plunged into the reporting of the April 1927 issue of a recently launched newspaper appropriately called “The Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter.” It aggressively promoted “The Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs” and the Town of Thermopolis. Here’s what the paper said about the home of “America’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs:”

Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Sturges are our very new arrivals at the Springs. The Doctor has entered into practice and will be the House Physician at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. We have interviewed the Doctor and find him to be of the latest and modern school of his profession, that he has supreme faith in the efficacy of our thermal mineral waters.

Mrs. Sturges expresses her pleasure at being with us and gives us her ‘First Impressions of Thermopolis,’ as follows: “During the time I have lived in Wyoming, at various times I have noticed the pamphlets and articles advertising the city of Thermopolis with its Mineral Hot Springs, the largest and most attractive in the world, and I am pleased to find that it cannot be too highly advertised.

“A tourist coming into this resort either via train or auto may not be so favorably impressed with the surrounding country, with its barren hills and vast acreage of sand and sagebrush, but Thermopolis can be likened unto an oasis in a desert. The fertility of the valley in which it is located surrounded by these beautiful red shale hills, with their peculiar cliff rock formation, makes a most attractive setting. The hot springs with their beautiful colorings and terraces are very similar to those in Wyoming’s National Park.

“The city is very attractive with its exclusive ready-to-wear shops, its decidedly modern form of architecture, wide streets and, last but not least, is the pretty drive out to Washakie Hotel, which is ideally located in the heart of the springs – the outstanding feature of this hotel is that the guests enjoy the comforts of home. We are just one big family.

“I am indeed very favorably impressed with the resort and am glad to know that it is going to be my future home.”

Thermopolis is depicted as a great town filled with delightful folks, including the following:

Inimitable ‘Scotty’

“Scottie,” Mr. James Brown, the man with more friends who love him for his kindness and attention to them while sick, than any other man in Wyoming, was in to our office a few days ago, and it was good medicine just to hear his “Lauder” brogue and feel the warm clasp of his hand.

Scottie is a real Scotchman. When properly inspired, he sings, something like Harry Lauder – that is the same songs – and we think his tongue is just as thick, his brogue just as broad and rich, and his intention to please fully as well evidenced by his effort. No Scotchman would ever be able to hold up his head if he were accused of giving away any worldly goods, but Scottie gives more than one in thousands, all the time – Scottie gives human kindness. There can be no greater gift than this. The Master preached it. All of mankind loves it. The truth of the latter assertion can be easily established by staying at the Washakie Hotel for a few weeks. Always among the first inquiries made by an incoming guest is if Scottie is still here, and the answer has been yes, now, for 14 years.

At least a dozen more stories touting Thermopolis and its great hot springs appear in the 1927 publication . . . but, then, that’s for next time we write.