Friday, October 8, 2010

Hot Lake Field Trip 2010

Last week, our local homeschool group had the great pleasure of getting a guided tour through Hot Lake Springs. I remember seeing this place 15 years ago when it was nothing but a literal shell of a building. The place is currently being restored by the Manuel family. As Lee Manuel describes it, it has been a "miracle project from the get go". This Christian family has been working on it for at least 5 years now amid criticism and disbelief that the building could be restored. One little guy spoke up and said this project was like Noah's project. That they are continuing on despite everybody thinking they are crazy. Out of the mouth of babes. I could tell his statement really blessed and encouraged her. They are slowing add pieces of their dream to this huge project. They started with the bronze foundry. David Manuel is a famous, world-renown artist.
This huge building, built in the early 1900s is in fact only half of the original Hot Lake town. The original 1860 structure was made of wood and burned down in 1934. During Hot Lake's heyday, it sported multiple businesses on the first floor, second floor had a hotel, 3rd floor a hospital, outbuildings, barns, blacksmiths, laundry, farms and residences. It was known as the "Mayo Clinic of the West". People would come from all over to soak in its springs. Originally, the Indians in this area would from many tribes would use these springs as it was considered neutral ground. The famous missionary, Marcus Whitman, would come over from Walla Walla and minister to the many Indian tribes found in the Hot Lake area, making disciples and ministers who would then take the gospel back to their tribes. Here is a side shot of the building. The East wing. The 3rd floor room on the corner (next to the blue sky in pic) was the surgery room, which I'll talk more about.
This is the spring house, where water boils up and flows out into a marshy area behind it. They have just built hot tubs in here that have the hot spring water piped into them.

This is the gallery, with lots of fabulous sculptures and art work. It was a pretty safe gallery for the kids to walk around with everything being in bronze. Love the original tiny tiled floor. Beautiful pattern!


Here is the newly remodeled entrance to the lobby for the bed and breakfast part of the building. A lot of work was put into this particular room.
On the top floor, where the hospital used to be, is the doctor's surgery room. A lot of students and sometimes family were allowed to observe the surgery from this balcony behind the chair. The picture our tour guide is holding is of this room and how it looked when it was in operation, (no pun intended). There was a hole in the middle of the floor that was used for drainage of blood during and after a surgery. Many babies were also delivered in this hospital. Later the upper floor was used as a nursing home.
This piece of equipment is labeled as the "Oldest Existing X-Ray Equipment". Very interesting. Would have loved for someone to have explained how that worked in great detail.
Here is a picture of a room that they left just they way they found it. This is an example of how the whole building looked when they first bought it. There weren't any windows or a roof. This room is where people would enter to go into the surgery room's balcony. The door you see opens up to the surgery viewing balcony. 

OK, so keeping that last picture in mind, see the transformation of the newly remodeled bed and breakfast rooms on the second floor. They are gorgeous! People from the community paid a generous amount of money to "buy a room" to remodel. Part of the money would be allotted for decorating, which they would do themselves.The rooms are large and roomy. All having a sitting area and their own claw-foot tub and toilet as far as I could tell. They were still in the process of installing the toilets and tubs.
There is also an old chapel on the premises that they are remodeling as well. They are wanting to put windows on the east side of the building.

This is the old dairy barn that used to supply Hot Lake. It isn't part of the Hot Lake property anymore and the current owner let it fall down a few years ago. So sad. It used to be a gorgeous old barn.
O6 years ago, our family purchased a window for Hot Lake in honor of Michael's service to our country. I also surprised Michael, when he got back from Iraq five years ago, with a brass plate on this National Guard memorial for local heroes. Josiah is pointing to his dad's name plate. 
This was an unfinished bronze out on the property. It is sort of a cowboy-style Prodigal Son. The young outlaw is giving up his gun and in the other hand there will eventually be a bible. It is a huge bronze. 
This is the first trading post in the area, established in 1812. It is on the Hot Lake grounds and dug into the hillside. It used to be several hundred feet deep. The Oregon Trail passed right through this property.
Josiah wanted me to take a picture of the pea hen and her chick hanging out at the fountain. There are lots of geese and peacocks on the grounds. They are always fun to watch.

I took over 80 pictures, but I whittled it down to just these 15. Hard thing to do. So much more to see. I wish the Manuel family the best of blessings to finish this momentous task of restoring this property. I pray all their hard work will pay off and that their businesses here will prosper despite the economic downturn. It is really an incredible piece of history they've chosen to preserve. 

God Bless,
Jackie

7 comments:

OurLilFullFam said...

Wow, pretty neat! Those are some nice pictures, it looks like such a neat place to visit.

Stephanie

Grandma Becky said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and story behind Hot Lake. I think I've heard of it. I wish the Manuels well in their endeavor to restore history. It sounds like you had a good field trip. One that will be remembered for awhile. Hugs!

Camille said...

What an amazing job that family is doing restoring that property! I found it fascinating to see the room "as they found it" and the old x-ray equipment! WOW!! How special that your Michael has a plaque there for his work overseas....I'm sure that was a blessing to him that you did that.

Have a lovely weekend!
Blessings,
Camille

Catherine said...

Thank you, Jackie, for showing this piece of history. It made me incredibly sad many years ago to drive by this place and watch its demise yearly. To know that someone has picked up the ball on reestablishing it makes my heart sing. Your pictures are wonderful!

Sarah said...

Wow...looks like such an interesting place to visit Jackie! Glad you guys had a great time! Loved the photograph of the old trading post...reminded me of 'By the banks of Plum Creek' by Laura Ingalls Wilder!

God Bless

Veronica Copple said...

I was searching images of Hot Lake Hotel in LaGrande Oregon. It looks similar but the last time I was at hot lake was 1996 and it was in such sad shape. It was a beautiful old place and I fell in love with immediately! I re read the blod and I still didn't see where this place that you have is located. Could it be the same place? If so my heart is lifted! I love to see the grand old place restored to some of her earlier beauty. So much history there.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Veronica,
It is the same place! Between Union and La Grande, OR. It is even more beautiful now. It is a bed and breakfast. Hope you have a chance to visit it someday. God Bless, Jackie

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