Landmarks of Dekalb County, Alabama

History of Sulphur Springs ›

Sulphur Springs Hotel
Sulphur Springs Hotel

Sulphur Springs Hotel With lush green foliage and trees in the summer, with harsh, cold, barren rock in the winter – and a terrible odor rising from the numerous springs all the time – Sulphur Springs was once billed as a health resort and cure-all, to which people flocked from far and near. Aptly named, the springs still give off the sulphur which once brought health addicts to lodge here.

It is not known when Sulphur Springs, Alabama was established or when the first settlers arrived. The first post office was established in 1885, and a three-story hotel with 50 rooms was built soon afterward. The Sulphur Springs Hotel was a resting place for travelers arriving by way of the Great Southern Railroad, and was also a mecca for many who came to bathe in and carry away foul-smelling water from the springs.

The first merchants in the community were the Blansit brothers, Bogue and Bob, and Lem Harris and his son-in-law, Orville Davenport. Dr. Phil Green practiced medicine here. His brother Griff married a Whitehead of the John Whitehead family.

The first church in Sulphur Springs was a Baptist church. A Mr. Matthis was one of the first teachers at the school, a fairly large one for the time.

Reverend William Erby Brown
Reverend William Erby Brown

One of the first Cumberland Presbyterian ministers and mill wrights in the area was Rev. W. E. Brown. He married Margarete Evelyn Blake, whose family was one of the first to settle the area.

In 1918 the post office was moved two miles away to Sulphur Springs, Georgia, where the railroad depot was located. The explanation to this somewhat confusing situation is that two towns of the same name were located on opposite sides of the state line. For many years afterward, Tom Oiler carried the mail on horseback from the Georgia post office into Alabama.

Other than the railroad, horses were the main means of transportation. Bill Shaddick drove a horse-drawn hack from the depot to the hotel during the busy summer months.

Today the springs still contain sulphur, but the hotel was torn down in 1948 and few people live in the area. The school and church each burned down twice, and local residents must travel several miles now to reach either a school or a church.

Once a popular resort town, Sulphur Springs, Alabama, has been a victim of modern medicine and the local drugstore.