We have enjoyed your column since we moved here in 2000. We bought the old Bybee Springs Hotel and Health Resort on East Evans Creek Road in Wimer (Rogue River).
We love the area and have been trying to find out anything about its history since we have been here. Someone told us there were several articles written about it in your paper many years ago, and we were wondering if you have any information about this old place.
— Ken and Connie, Rogue River
Sadly, the writeups our paper may have had about the Bybee Springs Hotel and Health Resort have been lost in the passage of time. That doesn't mean we're empty-handed, though, and we're eager to share what we found thanks to the help of our friends at Southern Oregon Historical Society.
Bybee Springs was named after William Bybee, who according to his Nov. 19, 1908, obituary in the Central Point Herald shows that he "was for many years one of the heaviest property owners in the county." (We are not mind-readers here, but we assume from the context, that was a reference to the size of his property holdings and not the size of his waistline.)
The obituary states Mr. Bybee was born in Kentucky in 1832, came to Jacksonville in 1854, married Elizabeth Walker in 1864, and served two terms as Jackson County Sheriff starting in 1878.
Although we weren't able to find much about the early days of your property, our friends at the historical society were able to dig up the 1940s memories of a Joyce Boulter Purier, who shared her memories of the Bybee Springs Hotel to the Woodville Museum in Rogue River in a document dated March 17, 2000.
Mrs. Purrier's family moved to an adjacent property in 1944, and she remembers it was owned by a Frances and George Crawford at the time. Her aunt and uncle, Mary and J.C. Poitivent moved into the hotel in 1945.
"They had about 12 children, so it was a big place for them, for as near as I can remember it had about 12 rooms," Purrier wrote.
She also shared that the hotel was wired for electricity in 1952, and telephone service in 1953. She remembered that the Crawfords hired Purrier's father, Al Bolton, to remodel the hotel in the 1950s.
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