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Archive for October 9th, 2020

Archives and Special Collections recently received:

The water cure: archaeological investigations at the sanitarium and bath house, Cascade Springs, South Dakota.

Abstract: “The Water Cure is an overview of the growth of health tourism in the southern Black Hill of South Dakota during the 1890s. During this era, medical doctors believed in the curative powers of drinking and bathing in mineral waters. They encouraged people to restore their health in therapeutic settings around natural warm springs. Bath houses, founded on the age-old Turkish bath experience, offered dry, steam and shower rooms as well as individual or group plunge baths to cure maladies such as hemorrhoids or rheumatism.”

I love archaeological reports, particularly those written for the public. In addition to a meticulous description of the archaeological project, the methodology, and the results, they include all this marvelous background history, architectural description, and material culture images. This report contains everything needed to set the context for the sanitorium and bath house. The wide range of topics covered is best illustrated by its table of context:

Part One: Settling the Southern Black Hills

   Chapter 1. Homesteaders: Alabough Canyon

   Chapter 2. Early Transportation: Railroads, Stagecoaches, and Electric Motor Lines

   Chapter 3. Hot Springs Town-Site Company: Friendly Competition

Part Two: Carlsbad Spring Company

   Chapter 4. The Water Cure: Health Tourism

   Chapter 5. The Sales Pitch: Gather Your Loose Change!

   Chapter 6. Feverish Growth, Blocks, Lots, Streets, and Alleys

   Chapter 7. Surrendering Possession: The Panic of 1893

   Chapter 8. Final Disposition: 1894-1908

Part Three: Archaeological Excavations

   Chapter 9. Exposing the Ruins: Survey and Testing

   Chapter 10. Sanitarium and Bath House Footprint: The Crown Jewel

   Chapter 11. Internal Plumbing: Steam Boilers and Pipes

   Chapter 12. Day to Day Life: Domestic Artifacts

   Chapter 13. The Turkish Bath Experience: A Day at the Spa

   Chapter 14. Four Objectives: Assessing the Results

Here are more images from the book:

Boen, Byrne, Mayer, Shierts, Vogt, and Williams. The water cure: archaeological investigations at the sanitarium and bath house, Cascade Springs, South Dakota. Rapid City and Pierre, SD: Archaeological Research Center and South Dakota State Historical Society, 2020.

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