written by Bronte Dod | photos by Bill Purcell
Lore drenches the history of the Hot Lake Springs Hotel. Located in Union County near La Grande, settlers recorded finding the natural thermal springs in 1812. Within the century, the springs became a worldwide destination, allegedly possessing healing powers. The Hot Lake Hotel, originally built in 1864, became known as “the town under one roof.” In its busiest time during the 1920s and 1930s, there was a post office, dance hall, hospital, and barber shop in addition to the hotel. A fire burned down most of the building in 1934. Abandoned and desolate, rumors spread of its hauntings in the 1990s. The Hot Lake Hotel fully recovered when the Manuel family, in 2003, bought and restored the hotel to a bed and breakfast. (The current owners of the hotel call the rumors false.) Today, you can visit the bed and breakfast, and soak in the water from the springs.