Nestled in the interior of the hotel's grounds is the whitewashed gazebo housing Pluto Spring. Named for the Roman god of the underworld, the likeness is fitting--the spring's sulpherous odor is anything but pleasant. Though the spring isn't used any longer, visitors can peer down the well and catch a good, hearty wiff of the world-famous water. Pleasant gardens and tranquil forests frame the scene, and one could just about feel idyllic when you read the inscription on the inside of the spring house. In old-fashioned black script reads Pluto Water's famous slogan "When Nature Won't, Pluto Will!"
You see, I had never before quite realized just what "taking the waters" meant. The key mineral in the famous spring? Epsom salt, which is a natural laxative. That's right, in the days of yore, lack of "pep" and "verve" was often due to being just plain bound up. Not only did vacationers relax and um, refresh themselves in French Lick and West Baden, but a plant bottled and distributed the water nationwide.
Fortunately, there were other things to see and, ah, do in the area, including enjoying dixieland music on the front porch of the French Lick hotel:
And taking a gander at the huge domed atrium of the West Baden Springs hotel, once called the Eighth Wonder of the World:
Of course, a few hours in these places and story ideas featuring wealthy heiresses or rakish businessmen enjoying the cool breezes on the verandahs or dining in curtain-swathed rooms were running through my head. And then I imagined these characters bound up and was less inclined to explore them further...