Hot Springs Hotel Burns In California
In Northern California pools of hot sulfurous and salty water around the East Bay region were used by Native Americans and animals, the natural salt licks attracting deer, bear, elk, and their natural predator, the mountain lion. Spanish explorers and early fur traders marked the “salt springs” and the natural temperature of 80 degrees to 100 degrees made it not too hot and not too cold, just right for a warm water soak. It was given the name “Byron” from early Californios seeing a “bear in” the hot springs during winter. A salt mining business was set up there in the 1860’s but with no railroads and other salt companies developing, it was soon turned into a health resort. There was a salt spring, heavily laden with salt, a liver and kidney springs which claimed that these two organs greatly benefited or were cleansed by its use and a sulfur springs. The first hotel was built in 1878. It was destroyed by fire in 1901.
A second hotel was built soon after the fire on a small knoll directly across the square from the site of the first one. The hotel combined many features of Spanish and Moorish architecture.
By 1912 the automobile was coming into greater use and Byron Hots Springs saw many visitors from all over California.
On July 18, 1912 at about 5:00am the second hotel at Byron Hot Springs burned down. Guest were warned in time and there were no injuries.