Omni Bedford Springs Resort History
Discover the colorful history behind Bedford Springs
Few properties can boast the historic significance of Omni Bedford Springs Resort, located in the Allegheny Mountains of south Pennsylvania. For more than 200 years, the eight mineral springs located on the resort's property served as an important gathering place. Eventually, the resort would be the site of many significant moments in American history, hosting a long list of celebrities, wealthy clientèle, corporate magnates and dignitaries from around the world. To date, the resort has hosted 13 U.S. presidents, seven of whom visited during their presidency.
THE BEDFORD SPRINGS
The Native Americans first used the mineral springs for their curative properties, and in the late 1700s, they shared the powers of the springs with a doctor named John Anderson. In 1796, Dr. Anderson purchased the 2,200-acre property on which the resort now stands. He built a home on the property and as word spread of these unique waters, visitors arrived from around the globe to experience them. He housed the guests in tents and offered custom prescriptions for guests based upon their needs.
THE ORIGINAL HOTEL
As more and more guests came west to "take the waters," Dr. Anderson decided to build a hotel. The Stone Inn was built in 1806 from stone quarried atop the mountain located adjacent to The Springs and carried down the mountain by oxen. Guests making the trek to the hotel encountered a rugged journey. They often arrived by train in Cumberland, and then made the 21-mile trip through the Cumberland Valley to Bedford Springs.
HISTORIC FIRSTS FOR BEDFORD
Bedford Springs Resort is truly an American original. With its growing list of wealthy clientèle, it gained a reputation as a luxury destination and was proclaimed as the Most Popular Resort in the United States. Bedford Springs became home to one of the first golf courses in America, originally designed by Spencer Oldham (and later redesigned by A.W. Tillinghast and then the renowned Donald Ross). And in 1905, the resort opened one of the nation's first indoor pools – fed by the property's spring waters. With its alluring surroundings and high-profile guest list, Bedford Springs' role in history was already in the making.
NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
In 1984, the resort was designated a National Historic Landmark and it closed its doors two years later. In 2004, the resort embarked upon an unprecedented restoration and expansion effort. Returned to its original splendor in 2007, Omni Bedford Springs Resort is the perfect blend of the past and the future.
2012 Former President George W. Bush, 43rd United States President, visits the resort.
2007 Omni Bedford Springs Resort is restored to its historic grandeur after a $120 million restoration. The new resort is the most modern of meeting places, featuring state-of-the-art technology and conveniences.
1998 Property purchased.
1986 The property closes.
1984 The resort is designated a National Historic Landmark
1975 Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan visits while governor of California.
1943 – 1945 Japanese diplomats captured in Germany during WWII are housed at the resort.
1941 – 1943 The U.S. Navy occupies the resort, using it as a training facility for radio operators.
1923 Renowned golf course architect Donald Ross remodels Bedford Springs’ 18-hole golf course.
1905 One of the first indoor pools in the nation is constructed at Bedford Springs, complete with a mineral water-fed swimming pool, solarium and hydrotherapy rooms.
1895 One of the first golf courses in America is laid out by Spencer Oldham at Bedford Springs.
1858 First transatlantic cable is received by President Buchanan in the lobby of the Bedford Springs Resort. He spent 40 summers in Bedford Springs.
1848 James K. Polk is the first sitting president to visit Bedford Springs. A total of 10 U.S. presidents will eventually be hosted by the resort, including visits by seven presidents during their time in office. These include Presidents Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, James Garfield and William H. Taft.
1821 Future U.S. President James Buchanan makes the first of many visits to Bedford Springs, which will become his "summer White House" during his time in office.
1819 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, visits the resort for several weeks. The resort will host several other Presidents while not in office, including William Henry Harrison, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and James Garfield.
1806 The Stone Inn, the first of the hotel's buildings, is constructed from stone located on a mountain across from the resort.
1802 Patients of Dr. Anderson experience the healing properties of the springs in new bathing facilities.
1796 Dr. John Anderson discovers the mineral springs of Bedford, long known by the Native Americans, and purchases the property.