Omni Hotels Homestead Resort

Gepetto Millworks supplies all manner of restoration millwork to this historic monument in the Blue Ridge.

Warm Springs Bathhouses

Gepetto Carpenters consult and construct the restoration of the
nation’s oldest spa building, traditionally dated from 1761.

Warm Springs Restored

Saving the Past: Achieving Restoration of Homestead Hotel for Historic Preservation of Virginia

Warm Springs History

One of the country’s oldest spas, the Warm Springs Bath Houses have been visited by travelers seeking their curative benefits since the mid-18th century, and the springs were used by Virginia Indians before that. The two simple wooden bathhouses, one for men, the other for women, are a rare survival of a bygone era of Virginia’s social and medical history and are still used for their original purpose. The octagonal men’s bathhouse, perhaps the nation’s oldest spa building, traditionally dates from 1761, although much of its fabric likely has been renewed. The twenty-sided women’s bathhouse dates to the early 19th century. Both structures frame the clear bubbling pools of warm water and are open to the sky. The spa is owned by the Homestead Hotel in nearby Hot Springs and is a featured amenity for the Homestead’s guests.

The 2017 updated nomination and boundary increase for the Warm Springs Bath Houses expands the site’s areas of historical importance, adds five structures to the historic complex, and extends its period of significance to 1925, marking the end of its most active era as a thermal water resort. The earliest feature of the site is an original octagonal stone basin constructed for use as a bathing pool likely in the 1760s. In the 1820s, the basin was covered with an octagonal bathhouse frame building. The historic complex also includes the Ladies’ Bath House (ca. 1875), a Drinking Spring pavilion (ca. 1875), and a frame building known as the Reception House, built ca. 1890. The latter building was subsequently converted to a residence for the keeper of the bath, serving as such for nearly a century. On high ground west of the baths are five historic buildings captured by the expanded boundary: a brick double cottage dating to the 1820s; three four-room, frame cottages of similar design and erected in a row to face the baths (ca. 1880s); and a frame two-room cottage constructed around 1880. Historically, one of the most popular spring resorts in Virginia, the Warm Springs Bath Houses are significant for their contributions at the national and statewide levels for their role in history of health and medicine, commerce, recreation, and architecture.

Homestead History

Hot Springs has been accommodating visitors since 1766 when a small hotel, known as the Homestead, was built there. It was replaced by a large wooden hotel, erected in stages in the 19th century, but which burned in 1901. Only the 1892 spa building, designed by Yarnell and Goforth, and several cottages survived. Its replacement, the present Homestead Hotel, is a prodigious Colonial Revival work by Elzner and Anderson of Cincinnati. The landmark central tower was added in 1929 by Warren and Wetmore of New York. The Olmsted Brothers of Boston landscaped the Homestead’s grounds in the 1920s. Following Pearl Harbor, the hotel was used for the internment of 363 Japanese nationals. The International Food Conference, a precursor of the United Nations, was held there in 1943. The Homestead continues to be an internationally known resort; its celebrated golf course preserves the nation’s oldest first tee in continuous use among many other interesting historic facts.

1990 NHL Nomination

Gepetto Craftsmen Services

  • Restoration of Doors
  • Historic Matching Fabrication

Warm springs historic site is now open to the public thanks to some help from us! Go see one of VA’s natural wonders and historic retreats!

Homestead hotel grounds in winter

Identifiable Features of Colonial Revival Architecture:

  • Columned porch or portico.
  • Front door sidelights.
  • Pedimented door, windows or dormers.
  • Broken pediment over front door.
  • Pilasters : rectangular columns extended from a wall
  • Symmetrical Facades.
  • Double-hung windows, often multi-paned.
  • Bay windows or paired or triple windows.
  • Pedimented or Gabled windows.
  • Pronounced front porch & entrances.

Warm springs historic site is now open to the public thanks to some help from us! Go see one of VA’s natural wonders and historic retreats!

Warm Springs Historical Photos presented by Preservation Society