Whitestone Springs part 2: Too much information edition

Part 1 was a trip report. This part is about the newspaper coverage of White Stone spring and hotel. I've grouped together newspaper items by subject in rough chronological order. Chronicling America provides no way to link to a part of a page like Google News does, so may have to do some hunting to find the article I link to. Sorry.


In 1901, J. T. Harris (1855-1928) bought the spring (named Kirby Spring) and renamed it White Stone Lithia Springs after selling his first successful springs, Harris Springs in Laurens County.

The first reference to the springs I could find comes the July 10th, 1901 The Watchman and Southron where some members of the South Carolina Press Association, meeting in Glenn Springs,  traveled over to White Stone Springs for a picnic. A $50,000 hotel and other improvements are promised.

A June 25, 1902 article in The Manning Times, originally from The State, about the new summer resort gives an excellent information about the location of the hotel and its dimensions.
On the summit of the hill just west of the spring and not 150 yards distant is almost completed a new brick hotel said to be more elegant in construction and appointments than any other of its kind in either of the Carolinas or Georgia. ... The building is 286 feet front and 204 deep. It faces the east and from the main building extends three long "ls" toward the west. 
I wish I had found this article before I went on my adventure because it would have saved me some time. Oh well.

This article also reveals that Rich Hill, a station on the railroad, is one and a half miles away and Whitestone Springs was once known as Kirby's Spring. The community also named Rich Hill would soon change their name to White Stone after the springs and hotel became "a thing". The Laurens Advertiser from the same date has the same article.

A July 30, 1902 advertisement in The Laurens Advertiser (ok, it's an article, but it reads like an advertisement to me) announces the hotel is open for business.

A glowing reprinted review in the April 22, 1903 The Laurens Advertiser reveals the hotel opened on July 15th instead of July 1st as planned.

White Stone Springs Hotel success

The hotel appears to have been quite successful in the relatively short time it stood, and played host to a number of conventions. One of these conventions was one for the South Carolina Press Association. The story about the meeting in the July 15, 1903 The Watchman and Southron was more about the hotel and spring than the meeting itself. The story does give some insight on what improvements were planned including running a trolley from the railroad station to the hotel, building a lake, a bridge to a club house. The story also mentions an existing pavilion and a basin at the springs, but I saw nothing of them when I was there. The Press Association liked their stay so much came back in 1904 and for a third time in 1905.

A 1904 article in The News and Courier about the hotel is yet another glowing review of the hotel, the springs, and J. T. Harris. This article mentions the bridge as being completed, and the club house nearing completion. Also mentioned is a railroad. The club house might have been the brick rubble I found on top of the steep hill.

The Jane Boyesen drama of 1903

Mrs. Jane Boyesen was staying at the White Stone Hotel during late August 1903. During this time, a series of room thefts occurred, and for whatever reason suspicion fell on her. Her belongings were searched, but none of the stolen items were found. Mrs. Boyesen was outrages and her treatment and filed a lawsuit claiming defamation of character. The September 1, 1903 The Newberry Herald and News is the earliest reference I've found to this interesting drama.

Some of her accusers sent a letter to The Greenville Mountaineer, reprinted by The Manning Times on September 9, 1903, explaining their side of the story. I especially liked this part:
And we further state that up to the time of the arrival of the suspected party no valuables were missing from the rooms, and since the departure of the suspected party we have not heard of a single article being missed.
Accusing without actually accusing. Nice. The only problem is nothing was found on her! If she took the stuff, what did she do with it after she stole it? Well, perhaps the trial will produce some answers.

Turns out there would be no trial. She died a few days later. The September 10th The Milwaukee Journal wrote a decidely sympathetic account of her troubles in their death notice. The Polk County News provided a more neutral account in their September 17th edition. Her sons dropped the lawsuit according to the October 14, 1903 The Manning Times, ending this brief drama.

J. T. Harris sells out

In February 1905, J. T. Harris sold the property to Solomon Scheftall. Harris would later become president of the Bank of Spartanburg, among other endeavors. The May 11, 1915 The Anderson Intelligencer reports he bought yet another spring in Campobello, but I couldn't find any information about this spring except for that one article. J. T. Harris died July 28, 1928 of a heart attack after several years of declining health.

White Stone Springs Hotel burns

During the evening of March 11, 1906, the White Stone Hotel burned down. Newberry's The Herlald and News provided this brief account in their March 13th edition:
On Sunday night about 8 o 'clock White Stone hotel was totally destroyed by fire. but the contents were saved. The loss is estimated at about thirty thousand. The hotel will probably be rebuilt.
The Laurens Advertiser had a longer version in their March 14th edition:

The Spartanburg Daily Herald wrote an even longer version about the fire in their March 13th edition on page 1. The story is continued on page 6, but unfortunately the page is rotated giving me no way for me to link directly to the story (because Google doesn't recognize the text). A rotated version of the continued story is below:

Rebuilding the hotel

The hotel was never rebuilt at White Stone Springs.

The Spartanburg Daily Herald reported on the efforts to build a tourist hotel in Spartanburg instead of rebuilding the one in White Stone Springs. The first reference I found to the Spartanburg hotel idea is in the March 24, 1906 edition titled Spartanburg Needs A Tourist Hotel. A May 2rd story reporting on some details the proposition also mentioned the council sent the proposition back to committee. The May 22 edition reported a council meeting was to be held that night to consider the proposition. The story about the meeting in the next day's edition seemed confident the deal was happening.

... and then I found nothing more. Until 1908, that is. That's when the White Stone Springs was sold in bankruptcy proceedings because the company, owned by Solomon Sheftall, was deep in mortgage debt.

White Stone Springs ownership after 1906 bankruptcy

Former owner and builder of the hotel, J. T. Harris, apparently bought the land from the banks in 1908 but nothing seemed to come of this. I found a 1913 notice of a master's sale of the property, but his name isn't mentioned at all. I tried entering the deed book and page mentioned in the notice into the Spartanburg County Register of Deeds website, but apparently records of that era aren't online.

1925 estate sale gives an idea of what buildings were still in use back then, and that the water bottling plant was still in business and that the spring water was still being bottled and sold. A 1981 article in The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, while wrong on several points, does have good information about later property ownership before Camp Croft and also has a photo from 1900 taken at the spring.

That same photo is shown below from a page about the 1972 centennial edition of the Spartanburg Herald Journal:

White Stone Lithia Water guilty of being mislabeled

In 1908, and agaIn in 1914, a judgment was obtained against White Stone Lithia Water for being mislabeled. More specifically, for claiming the water "cures all liver, kidney, and bladder troubles, gout, and all blood diseases". The law used against them was The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 that banned mislabled food and medicinal products. The spring water would later be marketed as White Stone Mineral Water to keep out of further legal trouble.

White Stone School

I found lots of references to events being held at the old school, but few about the school itself. I did find a 1912 story about an election to decide whether to approve bonds to build a school. I'm guessing it passed.


I'd definitely like to go back there again sometime. An item high on the list will be to take a photo to show a was/now comparison between the photo from 1900 above and my own. I'd also like to see if there are any more ruins to be found around there.

Update: A 1921 soil map of Spartanburg County will be a big help in narrowing down where to look for more ruins should I end up there again sometime.


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