Staying Cool in the Old Days…
By BILL LEACH
President, White County Historical Society, 1996-97 & 2001
As we “suffer’ through the summer heat in White County, I think of how our ancestors cooled down during the summer. A drink of water “from the north side of the well,” or perhaps a mid-afternoon feast of watermelon that had been in a tub of water all morning might have a cooling effect. If you were down with malaria or the ague, and could afford it you might visit a resort and drink the mineral waters to cure what ailed you.
In thinking of White County’s history, we think of the resorts at the springs in our area. The better known ones are White Sulphur Springs at Searcy, Armstrong Springs between Searcy and Center Hill, Griffin Springs at the Four Mile Hill area north of Searcy. All of these had resorts or boarding houses where one could stay while taking the baths and improving one’s health. Springs that as far as I know did not have housing, but proved to be popular gathering spots for community picnics, or places to walk to on a Sunday afternoon included: Harbor Springs where Bald Knob Lake is now, Bass Springs on Glade Creek south of Higginson, Gum Springs across from Gum Springs Church, Copperas Springs north of McRae, and Maple Springs at Antioch. Some communities were named for their springs. For example we have two Holly Springs in White County - one north of the Little Red River near Step Rock and the other south of the river near Albion. Sweet Springs was on Georgia Ridge. Some of the names of springs have been lost. For example Floyd was first called Salem, and the church was built close to the spring that still is ever-flowing at the north end of the community. Was the spring called Salem? The original survey map in 1821 shows a spring just west of New Hope curve south of West Point. Again name unknown.
There are numerous other springs in the county, but how many are named?
If you can add to this list, please let me know at the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.