Tucked away off Highway 7, a half-dozen miles south of the Coffman Bend area of the lake, one would hardly suspect that the village of CLIMAX SPRINGS was an early-day health spa and resort.
In an era when many Americans sought relief from chronic afflictions by bathing in mineral waters, the 50,000 gallon-per-day discharge of Climax Spring offered real hope--in some cases the only hope--of a cure.
In 1882, the town of Climax Springs began to "spring up" around the spring. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) By 1889 the town boasted a population of 100 and featured a drug store, blacksmith shop, shoemaker, general store, post office, school, and resort spa. The resort spa included several dozen rooms and bath houses.
The resort might have become a successful enterprise but for one drawback: the only way to reach Climax Springs was over twenty miles of bad road from the railway station at Warsaw. And that was a bit too much for folks who suffered from debilitating diseases. Other well known spas, such as Excelsior Springs and Eureka Springs, were easily accessible by rail.
Of course the town did survive, thanks in large part to the creation of Lake of the Ozarks. The spring itself is still there, too. It flows through a concrete trough in a small park. Eventually, its mineral waters reach the lake via Rainy Creek.
© 2002 by Michael Gillespie. All rights reserved.