Newest Nature Preserve Harbors Ghosts

By Eric Olson

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM EST

Woodburn, Ind. (21Alive)--An old piece of ground east of Fort Wayne has become the newest nature preserve created by the ACRES land trust and it is significant in several ways. It’s called Blue Cast Springs, 87 acres of trees big and small just a stones throw from Woodburn. There are also nearly three thousand feet of river frontage right on the Maumee River, and a real milestone…Blue Cast Springs also contains the five thousandth acre of land to be purchased and preserved by ACRES land trust.

“It’s pretty exciting you know,” says ACRES spokesperson Heather Barth. “We’ve been protecting land since 1960 and to know that we’ve come so far to reach five thousand acres plus now, it’s pretty exciting.”

Another reason this preserve is exciting, on the east end of the property is this, a now filled in foundation about the size of an Olympic pool. A hundred years ago this foundation supported this, the Blue Cast Sanitarium, built to capitalize on the waters of a nearby spring that were believed to be therapeutic.

“People then would take vacations to come to the sanatorium,” Barth says, “have special treatments done and drink the water and relax and get healthy.”

The sanitarium boasted 16 bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen and of course the healing waters from Blue Cast Spring. For years owners bottled the stuff under their own label and sold it around the globe. During Prohibition rumor has it the Blue Cast Sanitarium operated as a speakeasy attracting movie stars and famous thugs like Al Capone. But hard times struck after the Second World War and the place closed in 1955. It was bulldozed several years later. But its memory has been guaranteed, now that the famous spring and the land around it have been given a new career, and we’ve been given yet another beautiful natural spot to enjoy, in perpetuity. Eric Olson reporting out in 21 Country.




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