Friday, August 10, 2012
Peter Brackney: Keene Springs Hotel a refuge during Lexington’s 1849 cholera epidemic
During the cholera epidemics of 1833 and 1849, Lexingtonians feared the deadly disease. Five hundred souls perished out of a population of just 7,000. Many of the dead were buried by the now infamous King Solomon. While King Solomon can thank his alcohol-filled veins for keeping him alive during the epidemic, many of the survivors did so by leaving Lexington. But where did they go?
Wrote Bennett H. Young in his 1898 History of Jessamine County, Kentucky: “during the prevalence of cholera, in Lexington, about this time, a large number of people came to Keene and lived during the panic, occasioned by this disease in Lexington and surrounding towns.” They stayed in “a very nice hotel.”
Keene Springs Hotel - Keene, Ky.
The Jessamine County community of Keene prospered during each of Lexington’s two epidemics, but it was during the second epidemic that the Keene Springs Hotel truly succeeded due in part to the 1848 discovery of the area’s “white sulphur water.” Declared by the dean of Transylvania’s Medical College, Dr. Robert Peter, as “incomparably the best medical water on this continent … eminently adapted to the cure of every species of Indigestion, Liver Complaint, Dropsy, Scrofula, Cutaneous Affections, Mercurial Diseases, a variety of Nervous Diseases and nearly all diseases that are usually denominated chronic.”
More text and photos at Kaintuckeean.com.
Peter Brackney has combined a love of Kentucky with an interest in history in www.kaintuckeean.com, where he shares his photos and stories about some of the unique places around the Commonwealth. Born in Ohio, he came to Kentucky at an early age and grew up in Lexington. A double alumnus of the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s in accounting and his juris doctorate, he lives in Nicholasville with his family. Reach him at email@example.com.
Story republished from The Kaintuckeean.