We came to the area to visit with Helen and Jim. They have lived in the area all their lives and have a great deal of local knowledge. They were kind enough to take the time from their busy schedule to show us some of the local sights.
Our tour demonstrated again that there is always an interesting history in places you would never suspect. We started at the local county museum in Jasper, IN. Now, we have been in many county and town museums across the country, but this was one of the best. It was also the largest we have seen. It is located in a large former manufacturing plant and has all the usual local exhibits with high school history, sports and local dignitaries. Since this is farming area, there are large displays of this trade along with the area history including a small village mock up using actual local business artifacts. For the real enthusiasts, there are many hours of browsing to be done.
A short drive away are the towns of French Lick and West Baden. These towns became major tourist attractions based on the sulfur springs that were thought to bring good health to those that drank and bathed in the waters. They prospered from the late 1800’s until the great depression, when they fell on hard times and really did not recover until the late 1990’s. The business that continued unabated was Pluto Water, which bottled the sulfur spring water. I had never heard of it until this visit. There has been a revival in the area with the renovations of the famous hotels and development of casinos and a pro golf course.
The West Baden Hotel was truly amazing and the golf course clearly out of my league. I would guess I would need a bunch of golf balls just to get through the course.