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The Hot Wells of Cypress

HISTORICALLY CY-FAIR
The Hot Wells of Cypress

| October 1, 2017

Hot Wells hotel and complex prior to 1950. Photo courtesy of Robert Rivera.

Hot Wells hotel and complex prior to 1950. Photo courtesy of Robert Rivera.

Hot-Wells-Swimming-Pool,-courtesy-of-Robert-Rivera,-taken-1950

Hot Wells Olympic size pool circa 1950. Photo courtesy of Robert Rivera

A wildcatter crew looking for oil in the old Hamblin homestead in 1904 near the Cypress, Texas train depot lost their drill bit. They spent two weeks searching down the hole for it. In the process they broke into an artesian mineral water deposit that began flowing hot water.

In those days hot mineral water was perhaps more valuable than oil, and soon there was a Houston Hot Well Sanitarium and Hotel. Sour Lake, its grand hotel and its famous Dr. Mud had dominated the field but now, a short train ride from Houston, patrons could take advantage of the recuperative power of the
hot mineral waters. Two concrete basins held the waters, the first a cooling pond with 100 degree-plus water and a second more tolerable pool to swim and relax in.

The business went through a series of operators and various business schemes. One scheme was the Grace Springs Develop­ment that platted the area into lots one could buy to be close to the spring pools. That venture failed but the mineral water pools and hotel thrived with dining, dancing and performances by bands and high profile personalities. Jim Sigmund of the Cypress Historical Society has done much research. Some of the fun things he found were numerous advertisements in early 20th century Houston newspapers for Sunday fried chicken dinners and other enticements to visit via train excursions. While demand for the mineral waters diminished by mid 20th century, the place remained
popular for swimming, dancing and dining. Many young men and women of the Cypress area worked at Hot Wells in the hotel, restaurant or as lifeguards. One young man was Robert Rivera who took these photos of Hot Wells prior to when the hotel burned down in 1955. According to the Hot Wells Shooting Range website, Bud and Dallas Lamar purchased the facility in the 1960s and brought the resort to its final days of glory that included two
mineral baths, an Olympic swimming pool, 10 acres of picnic grounds, and a huge pavilion containing a juke box, concession stand and plenty of room for dancing. At one time it was not uncommon to have 300 to 500 guests at the complex.

By the 1970s the swimming pool business declined, and Lamar opened a gun range at the site. According to Gene Zaboroski, who was a local lifelong resident and once served as Justice of the Peace, the wells stopped flowing on May 2, 1982. Apparently drilling-mud from nearby oil drilling activity found its way into the artesian water well and clogged it for good.

To learn more about Cypress, Texas, or American history, visit Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park at 26026 Hempstead Highway. Contact them at cypresstop@pct3.com or 281-357-5324. The Cypress Historical Society is in the California Poppy yellow train depot replica in the back of the park. The Society has genealogy and historical information for the greater Cypress area. Contact them at cypresshistsociety@att.net or 281-758-0083. If you have questions or comments about this article, contact Fred Collins at fcndc@juno.com.

 

Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.

 

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