Early History: The natural hot springs was considered sacred by the Indians. They called it "Warm Springs" and used it as a site for scared rites. They believed it to be the abiding place of powerful spirits who ruled the birds of the air and the beasts of the forest and plain.
White men initially used tubs carved from logs. The first swimming pool was built of poles set on end, and then banked with mud and rocks.
In early days a plan was used to cross from the inn to the springs. Through the years, several log bridges have been built and then washed away by floodwaters.
1864: The Thomas-Ruckel Road was built by George Thomas and Col. Joseph S. Ruckel. It apparently followed an Indian trail and the route pioneered by Marcus Whitman (the Whitmans and the Spaudlings were Presbyterian Missionaries. Their wives--Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spaulding--were the first white women to cross the continent into the Northwest Territory.
A two-story, hand-hewn log inn was built as a stagecoach stop and western toll gate for the Thomas and Ruckel Road which stretched from Walla Walla, Washington, over the Blue Mountains to the Grande Ronde Valley at Summerville, Oregon and on to Boise, Idaho.
The first owner and manager of the Inn was William Tip Parrent. The inn was known as "Warm Springs."
1881-1891: The inn was also used as a post office.
1882: Floodwaters wiped out most of the bridges.
1882-1892: The inn was owned by John B. Purdy. Warm Springs became "Purdy Springs."
1884: The railroad was built across the Blue Mountains.
1892: The inn was purchased by Dr. John E. Bingham of Walla Walla, Washington. Dr. Bingham changed the named to "Bingham Springs." The resort was closed to the public and operated as a sanitarium. This did not prove successful. Dr. Bingham built a 40x60 foot rock masonry pool, the foundation of the present pool. He added a deck and wooden bleacher seats with a roof. A 32 room, two-story building called the "Annex" with cupolas, fireplaces, and a porch along two sides.A bowling alley was built and later used as a dance hall.
1905: Dr. M.S. Kern drove the first automobile to the resort. It was a one-cylinder Krit.
1908: J.A. Borie purchased the resort. He renamed it "WE-NA-Ha Springs." Mr. Borie was not successful in this venture and Dr. Bingham had to take it back. He renamed it "Bingham Springs."
??: Billy Hoke owned the springs.
1917-1918: Herman Rosenberg bought the springs.
1926: A small pool was built alongside the large one.
1932: The springs was purchased by M.A. Rigby.
1938: Howard and Bonnie baker (ranchers from Grangeville, ID) bought the resort.
1939: The Bakers demolished the condemned bowling alley and dance hall building. The cupolas, fireplaces, and porches of the Annex were removed and the roof was lowered one board at a time by going around and around the building. It is now called the "Homestead."
1948: The facility was closed as a public resort and registered as the Bar-M Ranch.
1940's: The interior of the inn was refurbished with knotty pine and the fireplace was built.
1949: Electricity arrives at the Bar-M Ranch.
1959: The log barn was built by Gene and his father.
1961: The road was re-routed up and behind the Bar-M complex.
1965: The small pool was destroyed by a flood, along with the spectator bleachers and roof. The current cable suspension bridge was built.
1986: The pool was recemented.
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