Hot Springs History

History of IMHS

Here are some milestones from the history of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs property, soon to become the newest Glenwood hot springs destination.

  • February 27, 1896 — West Glenwood Health Spa: “Sheriff Ware has bought the land below town, on the south side of the river, from Joe Taylor. Bob feels that he has made a great purchase as there is a large hot spring on the land.” (Avalanche Echo)
  • April 17, 1908 — Wash Allen Bathhouse: “George ‘Wash’ Allen has taken possession of the Bob Ware bathhouse, which he purchased a few days ago. He will be assisted in the work by his cousin, John McAlester, and niece, Miss Welty.” (Daily Avalanche)
  • March 24, 1938 — “Wash Allen, owner of the mineral baths and springs just west of Glenwood Springs for the past 30 years, announced this week he had sold his business to Louis Nicholson of Leadville…Mr. Nicholson started coming to Glenwood several years ago to take baths to improve his health and became so interested in their curative and medicinal purposes he asked to purchase them when Mr. Allen retired. An agreement was reached not long ago and Mr. Nicholson became the new owner.” (Glenwood Post)
  • 1943 — Humbert “Hum” J. Gamba purchased the property and ran it as the Gamba Mineral Springs for about 30 years.
  • 1955 — The Saturday Evening Post listed the Gamba Mineral Springs as one of the “places to go” in the country.
  • July 18, 1963 — “Dr. Charles A Graves of the Logan Chiropractic College faculty, St. Louis, Mo., has announced that Glenwood Springs will be the site of a chiropractic center to be located at the Gamba Mineral Springs in West Glenwood. The Chiropractic Center will operate in conjunction with H.J. Gamba, to provide the public with hot mineral water baths, massage, physical therapy and chiropractic treatments. Dr. Graves will later be joined by his brothers, Dr. Harlan Graves and Dr. Robert Graves who are both currently practicing in Denver.” (The Glenwood Springs Sage)
  • July 5, 1967 — “Dr. Charles A. Graves announced the purchase of Gamba Mineral Springs from Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Gamba. Final papers were signed June 19…Dr. Graves has had the widely known health spa under lease for several years. A bath house divided into six units for private bathing in natural hot water, five cottages with complete housekeeping facilities, a family residence and wide, well-shaded land of several acres were included in the deal…The attractive site of the spa provides river frontage views of both Mt. Sopris and Red Mountain. The springs were developed and the bath house built in 1895. Wash Allen owned and operated the baths for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Gamba purchased the property about twenty-five years ago.” (Sage Reminder)
  • February 28, 1968 — “The Gamba Mineral Springs resort, whose history dates back before the turn of the century, will now be known as the Glenwood Health Spa, as was announced by the present owner, Dr. Charles A. Graves, local chiropractor…The popular spa consists of mineral pools and cabins and is located just west of Glenwood Springs on the Colorado River.” (Glenwood Post)
  • July 27, 1992 — “Bathhouse with old history given new life: Long ago the wealthy came in horse-drawn carriages to soak in hot mineral tubs near Devereux Road and sip ice-cold glasses of buttermilk…Today, under the direction of two Glenwood Springs men, the bathhouse has been remodeled and refurbished. Now called the Fort Defiance Bathhouse, it is ready once more to soothe and relax sore muscles as well as rejuvenate the spirit. The bathhouse’s new operators, Roy Marker and Mike Retelsdorf, spent two months cleaning and painting the building, which contains six private mineral tubs, each with a shower and changing room. Two rooms are also available for those wanting a massage.” (Glenwood Post)
  • 1996 — Spa closes and remaining structures are torn down to make way for a water park project that did not come to fruition.
  • 2006 – 2007 — “A prospective buyer had plans to build condominiums on the property, but that project never got off the ground.” (Post Independent)
  • August 2014 — The Iron Mountains Hot Springs LLC, which is co-owned by Steve and Jeanne Beckley and Mogli and Coop Cooper, announced that it is going through the approval process with the City of Glenwood Springs to redevelop the historic Iron Springs Spa on 13 acres just across from the tram base at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  • October 20, 2014 — After receiving unanimous approval from the City of Glenwood Springs, owners broke ground on the new Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The plans include a family pool and eight smaller, mineral hot springs pools, along with buildings to house admissions, changing rooms, concessions and retail operations. The first phase of development includes naturally shaped pools that blend into the landscaping on the hillside next to the river, a watchtower resembling an old water tower similar to one that was on the site in the 1890s, and walkways heated with water from the hot springs connecting the pools. The family pool will include an elevated, hotter whirlpool spa where parents can soak while watching their children play in the shallow, cooler pool. A waterfall will cascade from the upper section to the lower pool. A large shade structure will provide guests a place to rest, enjoy food and beverages, and take in the views.