The Miracles of Potton Springs

The Miracles of Potton Springs


Photo–CardCow Vintage Postcards

In 1828 Bolton Spring noted for its medicinal properties was discovered in North Potton, Quebec on the farm of William Green. Its value as a remedial agent wasn’t realized until 1844 when it was used in a case of scrofula. Scrofula was a form of tuberculosis of the neck, and when word got out  about the cure people came to drink from this miracle water.


erez (22).jpg

Potton White Sulphur Springs, Que Quebec Canada-BANQ-CP 15995 CON–0002645701–1926


Local legend goes that 14 year-old Nathan Banfill discovered these waters looking for a drink at the bottom of a cliff at the base of Peeve Mountain.  Little did Banfill know that such a huge gush of sulphur water from three springs would become popular in the future and people would come to enjoy its benefits for miles. I remember as a little girl, my grandparents would take me to this small covered bubbling spring out in the middle of nowhere in the Eastern Townships and the air smelled like rotten eggs. My grandparents filled up a couple of milk jugs with the smelly water, but I wanted no part of it, and I had no idea what it was similar to young Nathan Banfill.



Association du patrimoine de Potton–Potton Springs Hotel. Circa 1900. A lovely picnic.


One must remember that in 1830 the north of Potton Township was slow to be settled, the local roads were scarcely passable, and the area very uneven for people to come and visit the future spa culture. It wasn’t until 1862 that the upper class folks came to enjoy what C.F. Haskell from Stanstead had named Mount Pleasant Springs.  After several variants of Haskell’s title for the area were forgotten, Potton Springs became the official name.

In 1875, the Potton Springs Hotel was built by ancestor N.H. Green and word spread internationally about the sulphur water’s supposed healing properties. Eastern Townships historian Gerard Leduc has written that there was possibly another structure before Green’s building as it seems he might have built his first building on top of a former field stone foundation. Merely two years later, the new hotel took advantage of the extension of the railway line of the Missisquoi and Black Rivers Valley Company. The hotel was purchased by J. A. Wright who supplied it with electricity from a generator and seeing the potential of his investment opportunity he enlarged it  in 1912 to accommodate 75 guests.

Potton Springs Hotel. Circa 1915–Association du patrimoine de Potton
At a rate of two dollars per day visitors afflicted with liver, stomach, kidney or urinary tract ailments were among those who could expect help and “female diseases” were reported to be greatly benefited by the use of the waters and baths.

Three sulphur springs originated from a deep aquifer, and the waters were tapped from the mountain springs into a wooden tank and delivered to the hotel below only by gravity. Baths could be taken in a variety of forms, including shower, sitting, and spray, and word was even a pool fed by the springs was available.
Sulphur baths were given for the care of rheumatism or eczema and sulphuric mud packs were applied to troublesome joints. The day at a sulphur spa would begin by drinking as much water as they could, followed by breakfast. After lunch, the guests would take a nap followed by four o’clock tea and a walk in the woods as only a Victorian era lady could possibly attempt.


burnthotel (1).gif

Potton Sulphur Springs Hotel after asron fire, December 1934–Interclik


They say people drank it, bathed in it, and even brought it home similar to my Grandparents who did the same in the 50s. The spa flourished and the McMannis Hotel which was situated at the corner of Mountain Road and Route 243, did an excellent business with the seasonal patrons who journeyed to Potton Springs. Business began to decline at the end of the 1920s, during the Great Depression and J. A. Wright finally sold the establishment to F. Larin in 1930, but a fire, (possible arson was mentioned) gutted the hotel in 1934.



From McGill Studies


erez (23)

BANQ–CP 041745 CON–0005019568– 1926


They say there isn’t much left of Potton Springs today, and only a few deteriorating remaining foundations have been left exposed to the elements. The foundation made from Lennoxville bricks remain, but even the 6-7 metre Potton Springs Hotel sign that was found by the new owners was stolen in 1990.

Potton Springs is now private property owned by la Fondation Poorna-Jnana Yoga and moments you try to put into words no longer exist. When I look at these old photos it’s pretty overwhelming, memories are now devastation, and there are no longer the original buildings to speak for themselves. Someone asked me if I had ever been there and seen the remains, and if I had a time machine a million memories would now flash through my mind. But, we can never go back and now the only clues to what happened at Potton Springs only remain in photographs and the carvings among the rocks.


Screenshot 2017-07-19 at 16.jpg

Masonic etching 1863- Youtube








Clipped from The Caledonian-Record,  21 Aug 1920, Sat,  Page 5



From McGill Studies


Screenshot 2017-07-19 at 10.jpg

1919 ad Burlington Free Press



From McGill Studies

Short History of the Potton Springs.

1000-1400 Petroglyphs carved on rock in area. Ancient religious sites established in various other locations in the valley (including possibly Potton Springs) that demonstrate a ritual and observance of natural cycles, the solstices.

1400-1800 Native American presence in the area. Ancient Burial mounds may refer to a larger scale geometry, which includes the springs and the above mentioned solstice sites.

1828 “Colonial”discovery of the sulphur springs on land owned by the Green family.

1844 A cure is announced using water from the springs

1862 Ministers from the surrounding townships organise a ceremony at the spring and name it Mount Pleasant Spring

1862 Date of some engravings on the protruding stone above springs. Included are several names and free masonic symbols.

1875 First hotel built on the site by NH Green

1877 Missisquoi and Black Valley Railway Co. extends the rail line from Huntington Mines in Eastman to Potton Springs.

1888 Orford Mountain Railway extend the rail line 4.6 miles

1906 OMR extends the line to Mansonville (the largest town in the Potton township)

1934 The Potton Spring Hotel burns down, leaving the foundations, chimney, barns and servant quarters.

1997 Servant quarters/hall burns down

2000 Site bought by Meditation/Religious Group- la Fondation Poorna-Jnana Yoga 

From McGill Studies

rs/hall burns down
2000 Site bought by Meditation/Religious Group



New secrets revealed at Potton Springs



Interview with Gerard Leduc–Click Here



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.





Where Were the Miracle Salt Springs in Pakenham? I Love a Challenge!

Whale Sightings Outside Smiths Falls– Part 2


unnamed (1)

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. I enjoyed your piece on Potton Sulfur Springs Hotel. My grandfather, Francis Larin, was the last owner. Before that, he owned the Prince of Wales Hotel in Montreal, where Houdini always stayed. You can see my tribute to him at Curiously enough, Masons were always linked to Potton Springs and well after his death (1956), I discovered that my grandfather – as well as Houdini – was a Mason.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s