Bedford Springs Resort - A Presidential Home
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
This post provides an historic overview of the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania, including before and after photos taken during renovation.
Built between 1806 and 1905, the Bedford Springs Resort project included the rehabilitation of six existing historic hotel buildings, the adaptive use of several additional historic buildings, new construction and the renovation of the Donald Ross Golf Course adjacent to the hotel on the 225-acre site. Sandvick Architects was in charge of both the historic tax credit and conservation easement packages for the entire project. Sandvick Architects also completed a detailed window survey for the restoration of the historic wood windows.
A Rich History
Situated along the Allegheny Mountains of south Pennsylvania, Bedford Springs Resort is most well-known for its nearby natural springs. It was first discovered by the Native Americans that these natural springs had a high mineral content and were considered to have medicinal value to those who drank from and bathed in the springs.
In 1798, Dr. John Anderson bought the property after the Native Americans shared this knowledge of the mineral springs with him. Dr. Anderson first built a house on the property, but soon word of these medicinal springs spread and visitors from all around the word began showing up. Dr. Anderson had no other choice but to house the patients in tents on the property until his new facilities were built. In 1806, 'The Stone Inn' was constructed from materials quarried from a nearby mountain and became the hotel's first building.
The resort attracted the attention of many U.S. president's who would choose to stay at the resort for extended periods of time. Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States visited Bedford Springs in 1819 and the 15th President, James Buchanan, even used the Springs as his summer White House while he served as President in 1857. On August 12, 1858, while staying at Bedford, President Buchanan received the first trans -Atlantic telegraph from the English Queen Victoria. The telegraph is currently on display in the front lobby.
In 1895, the resort constructed one of the nation's very first golf courses and one of the very first indoor pools in 1905. This swimming pool was, of course, fed with the mineral spring water.
The resort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984, and then closed two years later.
A Building Reborn
After its renovation was complete in 2007, the Bedford Springs Resort won the 2008 Construction Award for Commercial and Industrial Buildings from Preservation Pennsylvania and the 2009 Honor Award for Excellence from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Have you ever visited the historic Omni Bedford Resort in PA? Let us know in the comments!
View more about the Bedford Springs Resort here
The Sandvick Team