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Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

Mineral Wells
once a booming health spa

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
Sketchy Trew family history recalls that at some unknown early date, Grandma Trew once traveled to Mineral Wells to bathe in the legendary, hot, healing waters containing Crazy Water Crystals.

She returned with a supply of crystals to be mixed with tap water and drank in daily doses. No details have been recalled about her ailments.

Research finds that in 1880, the Judge James Lynch family cured their collective ills by camping by, bathing and drinking the warm waters gushing from a nearby spring on the outskirts of Mineral Wells.

Word spread and eventually thousands of visitors flocked to the fabulous bath houses and spas built by enterprising entrepreneurs. Special trains were run from the big cities of Fort Worth and Dallas to carry the crowds. The Crazy Water name originated from a tale whereby a woman was cured of insanity by the miracle-laden waters.

ells TX - Baker Hotel
The Baker Hotel

Photo courtesy Jason Grant

Over time, several Crazy Water hotels were built to handle the crowds with the 14-story Baker Hotel being the tallest and most famous. From 1920 to the mid-1930s, the town prospered with famous celebrities arriving weekly for the cure.

Modern medicines, federal drug rules and restrictions, more doctors and better hospitals caused the miracle qualities of Crazy Water Crystals to fade from the scene. Today, the recollections of this once-glorious period of time is limited to annual celebrations and museum displays.

Crazy Water Hotel and Crazy Water Crystal postcard
Crazy Water Hotel and Crazy Water Crystals

Postcard courtesy of Byran Black

In verification of this bit of Trew family history, we have Grandma's crock container and two boxes of Crazy Water Crystals among our heirlooms. The crock jug holds about two gallons of water, has a good lid and a brass spigot. The label identifies the container as a "Radium Ore Revigerator" patent #302621, made in San Francisco, Calif.

Labels on the boxes of crystals, (small whitish flakes), state: Mix one teaspoon of crystals with twenty ounces of tap water and drink daily "as can be aggreeably tolerated." Ingredients consist of sodium sulphate, magnesium sulphate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium carbonate. These ingredients plus the "Radium Ore" label encouraged me to read further.

The fine print below states, "Precautionary Advice - Not to be used when abdominal pain, stomachache, cramps, colic, nausea, vomiting or other symptoms of appendicitis are present." The next label says "Warning - Continual use of any laxative may develop a systemic dependence."

After serious study and comparing these labels with today's medicinal labels and side-effect warnings, I offer the following observations. The ingredients of Crazy Water Crystals appear to be the same as today's Epsom Salts in which my family soaked our bruises, sprains, wounds, aches and pains to eliminate soreness. I also recall, in serious cases, a good dose of Epsom Salts cleared out the lower passages in both man and beast.

I imagine the twice-a-day bathing in the hot mineralized water was a great improvement over sitting in a galvanized bath tub, in lukewarm, second-time-used bath water back at home. But most important of all, we now have the only legitimate reason I've heard for building a "two-holer" toilet. It might have been required in a family taking Crazy Water Crystals for a spring tonic.


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" July 11, 2006 Column

Mineral Wells Hotels > Book Hotel Here



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