CASTLE HOT SPRINGS (3TV/CBS 5) -- Castle Hot Springs is a historical icon, nestled in a rugged and remote desert location. Virtually abandoned for almost 40 years, this natural gem in the Bradshaw Mountains continued to produce healing thermal waters even while the resort property itself was empty and uncared for.
Determined to return the Springs to its past glory a couple who are long time Phoenix area business owners have rebuilt an end-to-end experience for those seeking the healing power of the 120-degree natural hot springs.
[READ MORE: What's in a name: Castle Hot Springs]
In the beginning, the Yavapai people and subsequently the Apache people made pilgrimages to the waters for medicinal purposes. In the 1880s, the area and springs were purchased by Frank Murphy to create a sanitarium, capitalizing on the health benefits of the water and the desert environment.
Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world found their way to the health-giving waters of Castle Hot Springs including western writer Zane Grey, prominent families like the Vanderbilts, Astors, Roosevelts, Kennedys and Wrigleys.
President Theodore Roosevelt stayed at the resort during the dedication of the Roosevelt Dam.
In the 1940s the resort was used as a military rehabilitation center to treat veterans wounded during World War II. One famous soldier who rested at Castle Hot Springs was future president John F. Kennedy, who spent three months recovering from wounds.
Then, in 1976 a fire broke out in the Palm House, destroying the building that had become a symbol of the resort. The Wrigley Cottage also caught fire in 1996 and a few years later, most of the remaining buildings were torn down.
The property changed ownership a few more times before being purchased in 2014 by local business owners Mike and Cindy Watts. They, along with Westroc Hospitality which manages the property, are committed to restoring Castle Hot Springs.
The new resort, now open, promises to bring old-world hospitality to this desert oasis.
For more information, go to castlehotsprings.com