Original Plan For Gregson Townsite -- Locating The Original Hotel and Bathhouses for Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs Resort ( aka Gregson Hot Springs Resort), One of the Earliest Resorts in Montana Territory.
Unique example of the original manuscript plan for the Gregson Townsite in Butte, Montana, as executed by the owners and surveyor Malcolm L. MacDonald in November and December of 1893. The plan would, in turn, be approved by the County Commissioners on January 3, 1894. Unlike the recorded example, the present plan extends further south, showing the major landmark in the area, the Upper Deer Creek Lodge Hot Springs Resort, one of Montana's oldest resorts.
The present plan is one of the original plans which was prepared in connection with the approval of Gregson Townsite and includes Notorial Seals for the Surveyor and two groups of owners, who signed in Silver Bow County and Salt Lake County, Utah, respectively. The streets and lots are laid out and the rail line, depot and Section house for the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific R.R. are shown.
However, unlike the recorded copy of the Townsite plan, this example includes the Hotel and all of the original structures for Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs Resort (aka Gregson Hot Springs Resort), one of the earliest resorts in Montana Territory and still to this day operating as the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
The official example of this survey, with the signature of the County Surveyor and County Commissioners, can be see here: mtmemory.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16013coll10/id/880
The present example, in addition to being one of the signed originals (which likely remained in the possession of one of the owners or their agent), extends further south than the official recorded example, locating Gregson Creek at the south end of the Township, as well as the structures for a Hotel, Bathrooms, Plunge and the Ensor Institute (?) at the lower edge of the map, then being operated by the Gregson Brothers as Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs Resort (aka Gregson Hot Springs Resort).
Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs was located by George and Eli Gregson on April 11, 1869. They acquired the springs from a squatter named Hulbert for $60 and took a claim on the surrounding land, consisting of 320 acres, where they commenced a dairy farm.
In the following years, the Gregson Brothers turned their attention to developing the 12 hot spring pools, building a two story hotel, suitable for 50 to 60 guests, a plunge bath and five large bathing rooms. A bar room and sleeping apartments were also built, along with a flume to conduct the hot and cold water to the bath houses. The cold water came from a stream about 700 yards south of the Hotel. Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs Resort offered fishing, hunting and a general escape to its guests. The springs offered cures for rheumatism and arthritis plus other types of ailments. It was also said a savory soup could be made by adding salt and pepper to the hot spring water. The soup was then consumed in the hopes of curing various ailments.
In 1890, Gregson Resort was leased to Miles French. In 1892, a townsite was platted. The Butte Miner references a dedication ceremony for the town on December 9, 1893. In 1901, the Resort was sold to Con Hays and James Breen.
Many organizations and clubs held their annual picnics and parties at the springs. On August 12, 1912, Butte Miners held the most infamous. Fourteen thousand people took part in the event. A brawl broke out between the Anaconda Smelterman and the Butte Miners in which the mob ranged from the hills to the ranchlands. Two men died as a result of the disturbance. At the inquest, the judge could not determine what really occurred so no one was prosecuted.
The original structures burned in December, 1914, including a Dance Hall and some additional buildings. The buildings were reconstructed and the Gregson's operated them until 1971, when it was demolished and the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort was developed in its place by Lloyd Wilder, operator of the Fairmont Hot Sprints in British Columbia.
The biographical details on the Gregson Brothers given in Leeson's History of Montana: 1739-1885 . . . , p. 1068-96 notes as follows:
Eli Gregson and George Gregson, P. O. Stuart, proprietors Upper Deer Lodge Hot Springs. These springs are situated in a picturesque location near the base of the mountains in the upper Deer Lodge valley, about 15 miles from Butte City and two miles from Smarts station on the Utah Northern railroad. The water issues in large quantities from a score of springs, covering a radius of about 100 feet. Some of these springs are so hot they will boil an egg hard in a few moments, while some are highly charged with iron, soda and sulphur, and have valuable medicinal qualities, proving very efficacious in rheumatic complaints and scrofula, and other skin diseases. The value of the water is very great and the capacity for bathing is inexhaustible.
To the south about a quarter of a mile the mountains rise abruptly, and the deep canyons are filled with fine forests of spruce and pine, interspersed with various crystal streams which abound with beautiful speckled trout, and other members of the finny tribe. Higher up in the mountains deer, elk and sheep are found by the sportsman. Everything combines to make these springs the most delightful summer resort for health-seekers as well as pleasure-seekers. No other health resort in Montana can offer equal attractions. There is an absence of marshy ground surrounding the springs as they flow suddenly from the rock, and this helps to make them entirely unexceptionable for health and comfort.
Added to all this is the magnificent view of the Deer Lodge valley, which extends, level and unbroken, for 30 miles, with the main range of the Rockies in full view on the east and northeast for miles. To the eastward about 18 miles is what is known as the divide, or the pass over the main range, over which the Utah Northern railroad runs, and from here, sweeping around in a semi-circle to the south and west, the main range rears its lofty peaks thousands of feet above and enclosing the Upper Deer Lodge valley with an impassable wall over which the waters of ages have flowed uninterrupted.
On an air line, Butte, the greatest of modern mining cities, is situated, to which an excellent roadway via Silver Bow leads from the springs, scarcely two hours drive. The Upper Hot Springs are destined in the near future to become the resort for the wealth of Butte city, as well as for thousands of toiling miners-place of rest and recreation. For tourists and families no place in the West offers so many attractions. The mountain forests, streams and ca ñons, with their cool waters and invigorating breezes, afford health and pleasure to the invalid and weary, while the higher hills and streams furnish game for the sportsman, and near by pleasure-seekers find such attractions as the Big Hole Battle Ground and mining gulches, etc.
Eli Gregson and George W. Gregson came to Montana in 1864 and mined in Alder gulch until May, 1865, when they went to Nelson gulch, near Helena, and engaged in mining for one year, when they left the mines and went to Gallatin valley and engaged in farming, settling on the east Gallatin about 12 miles below Bozeman. The brothers ranched here three years when they sold out and moved to their present location. They own 320 acres of land next to the springs and 160 acres on the opposite side of the Deer Lodge river, where they raise grain and hay. They cut about 80 tons of hay per annum, and raise about 2,000 bushels of grain.
Eli Gregson was born November 22, 1836, near Gosport, Owen Co., Ind., and is a son of Eli and Margaret Gregson. He moved with his parents to Poweshiek Co., Ia., and resided there until 1864, when he came to Montana. He is unmarried. George W. Gregson was born August 22, 1841, near Stilesville, Ind., and resided with his parents until 1863. He was married December 25, 1863, to Miss Tabiatha, daughter of. Thomas Ashing. Mrs. Gregson died June 25. 1877, leaving one child, Ida F., born August 10, 1864. The latter married George Adams, and resides in Upper Deer Lodge valley.
George Gregson, with his brother moved to Montana in 1864. He married his present wife January 1, 1882. She was formerly Miss Sarah Jane Evans, daughter of William and Ann Evans. They have one child, Adel, born October 19, 1882. The brothers, Eli and George Gregson, have been associated together in all business interests since boyhood, and still reside together. For the past 16 years they have been engaged in farming and stock-raising. They are now making extensive improvements at the springs, to be better able to accommodate their patrons.
A remarkable piece of Montana History.