Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Shannondale Springs

A former health spa at mineral springs on the Shenandoah River approximately five miles from Charles Town, Shannondale Springs resort opened in the summer of 1820. A hotel was constructed the same year.

The resort was incorporated in 1838 under a new group of investors who had strong economic and political ties to the Whig Party. Thereafter, the springs became a gathering place for the rich and influential, attracting the political elite and many members of the First Families of Virginia. During its heyday (1840–58) Shannondale Springs hosted jousting-at-rings tournaments, fancy dress balls, lavish fireworks displays, hot air balloon ascensions, horse races, and political rallies.

The hotel burned in March 1858, leaving most of the cottages and outbuildings intact. The resort continued to function at a reduced level after the Civil War, serving middle-class families, providing facilities for hunting, fishing, dances, and local church groups. A new hotel was constructed in 1890 on the site of the old one. Built to benefit from a financial boom that did not materialize, Shannondale Springs was sold in 1902 to H.C. Getzendanner, who extensively renovated the facilities. The hotel burned again in 1909 and was not rebuilt.

Shannondale Springs was visited by several presidents, including James Monroe, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren. The Shannondale Springs site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Read the National Register nomination.

Written by William D. Theriault


  1. Theriault, William D. Shannondale. West Virginia History, (1998).