Minnehaha Springs is located at the junction of Knapps Creek and Douthat Creek, about nine miles east of Marlinton in Pocahontas County. During the Civil War the Confederate Army had a camp, Camp Northwest, located to the east of Minnehaha Springs. In 1890, a post office was established and given the name Driscol, from lumberman John Driscol.
In the early 1900s, residents began to look at the spring, with its large flow, constant temperature, and alleged medicinal properties, as the future of their community. The completion of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’s Greenbrier Division to Marlinton in 1900 put the spring within reach of travelers. The spring, named for the Indian maiden of Longfellow’s poem, is a thermal spring with traces of many minerals. In 1912, the Minnehaha Springs Improvement Company was formed, and a bathing pool opened to the public. A post office with the name Minnehaha Springs was established, which closed in 1989.
A two-story hotel building, on the hill above the spring, was completed in 1914. It had several owners and was open only sporadically over the years. The hotel was destroyed by fire February 4, 1945. Although not successful, this hotel was the first facility in Pocahontas County built and operated strictly for the tourist business and a forerunner of today’s much more lucrative local tourism economy. A more successful use of the property has been as a summer youth camp, beginning in 1944 and continuing to the present. The camp, now named Twin Creeks, was for boys before becoming coed in 2001.
Minnehaha Springs also was the location of another early effort to capitalize on the recreational potential of Pocahontas County, the Allegheny Lodge.
Written by William P. McNeel