Radium Hot Springs, Haines, Baker County, Oregon

     In 1905 a part of 160 acres homesteaded in 1871 by Fred C. Coles was leased from his son, Edward W. Coles by a Dr. May, who built the 100 room Haines Hot Springs Sanitarium.  It burned in 1906.  Rebuilt as Radium Hot Springs Sanitarium, it also burned in 1915.
     In early spring of 1926 young Lloyd Carter of the highway crew near Haines, saw “smoke” rising from a nearby field. 
Investigating, he reached the site of the two ill fated sanitariums, still owned by Ed Coles, who had no interest in ever building a like facility. 

     Lloyd Carter asked to lease the hot spring area to build a swimming pool.  In his home town of Cove, Oregon, a successful one had recently opened and he saw potential here.  Ed Coles agreed to lease, and with a partnership agreement reached with Jonas B. Weimer, a Cove garageman and trucker recently sold out, the work began.

     Mr. Carter and his wife moved to the site, and Mr., Weimer lived with them while Mrs. Weimer drove from Cove to help with the work, until the children’s school there was out.  Water snakes were numerous, and mosquitoes were terrible.  Smudge pots were tried to discourage the mosquitoes, and boys of the area tried to lessen the snakes by driving them into the hot water.

    The debris from the sanitarium had fallen into the hot water and had to be cleaned out with horses and wooden scrapers, no small problems in boiling waters; but this was to be the source of water for the pool.  Excavating for the pool itself was also done with horses and scrapers, less problematic, but a big slow job.  Cement was poured for the sides only at this time.  Dressing rooms and a small concession stand were built.

     July 4, 1926, the pool opened officially, with Haskell Bloom of Cove and Eva Wilmerth, and Verna Weimer as lifeguards.  Since the Highway 30 was still under construction and cars could not drive to the pool, people walked from Haines through the ranch pastures of Mr. Coles (now belonging to Jerry Cantrell and Henry Steele) to the Radium Hot Springs Swimming Pool.  Sixty years later it is still a popular recreation area, with camping facilities available for some time.

     Mr. Weimer sold his interest in the pool to Mr. Carter, and he and family returned to Cove, where his youngest daughter, Alice May, was born.  Mr. Carter continued operation of the pool for about nine years, but when his wife died he did not renew the lease.  The pool reverted to Ed Coles, whose son Bernal operated it for about 5 years. 

     During World War II it closed for two years, and in 1947 was sold to Raymond and Ethel O’Dell.  They were operators until 1969, when a corporation formed by Jack Stevens, Doug Nichols and Bob Goss bought it.  Others to operate the pool under various arrangements have been Stanley Ingram, Jr., Robert and Dollis Cameron, Dewey, Miller, and Alice Weimer Cantrell.  In 1985 Jack H. Stevens became owner and operator.  Compiled by Thelma Pritchard, Jack Stevens and Alice Cantrell.  NOTE: Radium Hot Springs closed on Sept. 1 1986 (JRE)

Haines Index

Baker County

 

 

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