The historic hotel in the national historic district at French Lick was initially known as a mineral spring health spa and for its trademarked Pluto Water. During the period toIndiana french lick legal Thomas Taggarta former mayor of Indianapolisand his son, Thomas D. Taggart, were its owners and operators, the popular hotel attracted many fashionable, wealthy, and notable guests. In the s and into the s, the resort became known for Indiana french lick legal recreational sports, most notably golf, but the French Lick area also had a reputation for illegal gambling.
After a series of subsequent owners and renovations, the hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in The restored hotel, with its exteriors of distinctive, buff-colored brick, reopened in The hotel site was located near a salt lick that Indiana french lick legal animals once visited as they traveled along the Buffalo Trace in southern Indiana.
Indiana french lick legal Americans also used the area as hunting grounds. It became known as French Lick in reference to the French traders and settlers who lived in the vicinity of the salt lick. Inencouraged by the presence of salt deposits near French Lick, Indiana's state government authorized the land to be mined for quantities of salt, but the saline content was insufficient to support large-scale salt mining and the property was offered for sale.
In Thomas Bowles and his brother, William A. Doctor Bowles eventually built an inn on the property; it became known as the French Lick Springs Hotel. Although the specific date of the hotel's opening is not known, it is believed that Bowles built the first hotel on his French Lick property sometime around Inprior to his departure for military service as a commissioned officer in the U.
Under the terms of the lease Lane agreed to enlarge and improve the facility.
In the early s Bowles resumed management of the French Lick hotel at the end of the lease and continued to improve the property. Lane purchased acres hectares of land from Bowles that included mineral springs at Mile Lick, 1 mile 1. Competition from Lane's new hotel, which opened in the mids, began a decades-long rivalry between the two Orange County sites. Rogers, a Indiana french lick legal from Madison, Indiananamed the French Lick hotel's largest mineral spring Pluto's Well in Pluto is the classical mythologyical god of the underworld.
Wells and James M. The hotel and mineral springs were sold at a sheriff's sale organized to settle a legal dispute over Bowles's estate. Wells retained a one-quarter interest in the property untilwhen he sold his interest to the investment group. The new owners made major improvements to the hotel, including the addition of two wings Cliftonand Pavillion [ sic ] to the main hotel Windsor.
They also expanded the hotel's operation from a seasonal business to a year-round resort. In the hotel's owners granted the railroad a right of way on the hotel property. The main hotel building Windsor was destroyed by a fire in Three major springs were located on the French Lick resort's property: Bowles renamed LithiaProserpine, and the better-known Pluto.
The area's mineral water and baths were alleged to cure more than fifty ailments, including goutalcoholismand rheumatismamong others. In the property was sold to an investment group that included Thomas Taggarta politician and former mayor of Indianapolis. Taggart served three terms as mayor of Indianapolis toas a chairman Indiana french lick legal the Democratic National Committeeand briefly in the U.
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Dickson, a limestone quarry owner. The main wing's new design overlaid the hotel's Late Victorian architecture with Mediterranean Revival architecturemost notably the Italian Renaissance style that was popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The exteriors of the main wing and later additions were unified with similar proportions, a consistent roofline, and the hotel's distinctive buff-colored brick.
Around Taggart bought out his partners to become the hotel's sole owner. Under Indiana french lick legal direction, the hotel was transformed into a first-class resort that included the main wing —a recreation center formerly the bath house, —11and four connected wings: These facilities housed lobbies and guest room, dining rooms and bars, offices, shops, and a spa.
The annex wing provided offices and guest rooms.
The west wing, the hotel's first fireproof wing, included an elaborate Italian Renaissance Revival-style pavilion, originally named the Indiana french lick legal Bar. The seven-story deluxe wing housed guest rooms and suites, including accommodations for the Taggart family when they resided at the hotel. The hotel's six-story north wing provided the hotel with conference and exhibition spaces.
Taggart made additional improvements at the mineral springs that included the construction of pavilions, including the Pluto spring house circato shelter the springs.
A new mineral spring bath was built at the site of the present-day spa facility.
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In addition, Taggart is credited with modernizing the hotel, which included bringing in electricity, adding a fresh water system, and establishing trolley service to French Lick. The hotel's service buildings included a kitchen complex—11, Indiana french lick legal. He also convinced the Monon Railroad to lay a spur track to the hotel's grounds and run daily passenger service to Chicago. At the height of the resort's popularity, which occurred during Taggart's ownership of the hotel, approximately to guests checked into the hotel each day.
In the years following the Wall Street stock market crash ofthe resort went into a steady decline, but it did not close. Taggart sold the hotel to a group of New York City investors in  Pluto Water operations were separated from the resort's operations in Although the Sheraton chain spent "millions of dollars" to improve the facilities, French Lick's physical condition continued to decline.
Cox returned the resort to its original name and sold the property to Kenwood Financial in The Indiana Gaming Commission granted the long-promised operating license for a riverboat casino to The Trump Organizationheaded by businessman Donald Trumpbut a variety of reasons caused the selection process to begin again.
A partnership of business interests from within Indiana, including billionaire Bill Cooksubmitted an application for a gambling license before purchasing Indiana french lick legal French Lick Springs Hotel from Boykin Lodging. The partnership was awarded the license during the summer of Cook later bought out the partners after a legal dispute.