Postcards reveal glimpse of Stokes County’s mineral water tourism past

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- There was a time when grand hotels dotted the Stokes County landscape, thanks to people in search of the fountain of youth.

"Mineral springs had long been thought to have healing properties," said Steve Shelton, a local historian and postcard collector. "It brought in people and they advertised extensively."

There were three well-known springs in the county at one time (Moore's Springs, Piedmont Springs and Vade Mecum Springs) and they did a lot advertising using picture postcards.

"It was a quick and inexpensive way to send a message," said Shelton, who says postcards are invaluable. "It gives you a glimpse into what was once there."

Shelton says several members of the Moore family lived to be over a hundred years old.

"So maybe there was something to that water," he said.

Today, Vade Mecum Hotel is one of the few standing reminders of Stokes County's water rich history.

The property was recently purchased by Hanging Rock State Park and a study is currently underway, with the help of locals, to explore ways of preserving what remains. The park opens the facility once a month for tours.