Chief William McIntosh built a cabin there in 1800. In 1823 Chief McIntosh and his cousin built an inn and a tavern with a large ballroom upstairs. This became the Indian Spring Hotel. The building is the only known ante-bellum mineral springs hotel in Georgia, still standing.
During the 1800s Indian Spring became a bustling resort town, and eventually supported seven hotels and a train to deliver guests to the hotels. During prohibition it was a destination for the rich and famous. Indian Spring State Park is one of the oldest state parks in America. The stone spring house, which was built by the Civil Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, provides a collecting point for guests wishing to bottle some water. Wading in the shoals of Sandy Creek, swimming in Lake McIntosh, hiking and camping in cottages and campsites makes it a popular family outing in the 21st century.
Highways, the availability of cars, and Disneyworld eventually saw the demise of Indian Spring as a destination. By the 1950s, the town fell into disrepair and unemployment meant no repairs were forthcoming.
When the current president of the Historical Society moved into town it was mostly buried in kudzu. Hidden beneath the kudzu, crack houses and meth labs thrived and lawlessness ran families out. But she loved the old antebellum house she found buried beneath the kudzu and took on her first renovation project. Her interest in the town’s history and her love of the old buildings encouraged others who had given up all hope for their little town. Today there are nine wedding venues in the village, a new amphitheater, beautiful rose gardens and a botanical garden, an art gallery and the museum, which was the original hotel, a chapel, and assorted shops. These were all her projects, which became employers and sources of pride for the town.
I was invited to speak to their historical society last May. The group asked me to write a book for young readers about Chief McIntosh. I said I would think about it, pray about it, and see what happened. If it wasn’t something I could do, I would help them find an author who could.
I asked God to let me know what he thought about this, and waited for an answer. I stumbled upon a commemorative park in Kentucky, which was a provision stop along the Trail of Tears. There I learned about Chief McIntosh’s involvement in the provisions for the first and second removal. In Mobile, Alabama, I discovered a Creek reservation and museum. I spent time there, took pictures and bought some books. I met my friends from the historical society, got a personal tour of their museum, bought local books, talked to some Creek Indians and visited the library. I’ve committed to write their book. Research begins in earnest today.