Community Hopes to Restore Historic Hotel

The vacant area of trees and rocks holds years of history and decades of memories. This is the site of the historic Hampton Springs Hotel in Taylor County.

Mark Southerland, who collects hotel memorabilia, says, "In the 20s and 30s it was one of the greatest hotels/motels in the world, really. People came from all over the world for the sulfur water. They came by train, they came by horse, they came by carriage or however."

The hotel was built in 1908 and was destroyed by fire in 1954, creating a haven for thieves and vandals.

Melody Cox of Taylor County Administrative Services says, "It sat for several years in a lot of disrepair, a lot of vandalism. There were families that still used the pool over the holidays, the summer; kept the pool clean. We had a lot requests from the elderly people to try to do something to the hotel site."

Thanks to the Bureau of Historic Preservation and a $750,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, the site will be restored into a public park with campgrounds, restroom facilities, picnic pavilions and equestrian parking.

Melody adds, "It's just so much a part of the heritage of Taylor County. It's beautiful. The Bureau of Historic Preservation has made this happen. I'm so thankful to them.”

Many others will probably be thankful, too. Rumor has it people travel from far and near for the spring water, which is believed by many to hold medicinal value. County officials say construction on the Hampton Springs site is expected to begin in May or June and should be completed within one year.