California possesses many remarkable springs of medicinal qualities, to which come people from all parts of the country for relief from physical ailments. Of these, none excels the wonderful waters of Ney’s Springs, located in a canyon leading off from the grand canyon of the Sacramento River, about five miles south of Sisson (now Mount Shasta City), and two miles west of Cantara station, on the Southern Pacific Railroad. The springs received their name from their discoverer, John Ney, who found them while on a hunting trip about forty years ago. He recognized the fact that the waters were of unusual character and, being at the time in poor health, he and his wife, whose maiden name was Catherine R. Butler, devoted their attention to the possibilities of developing here a health resort. An analysis of the waters showed their distinctive medicinal value, and as the different springs produced different kinds of water, their value was proportionately greater. During the following years they made many valuable improvements on the property which they acquired, building roads and trails from the outside and it is noteworthy that all of the original timber is still standing on this eight hundred acre tract. They gave their entire attention to the management of the springs during their remaining years and the property has since been under the management of their daughter, Miss Clara B. Ney. The popularity of Ney’s Springs has steadily increased through the recommendations of those who have here received definitely beneficial results from the use of the water.
The water of the main spring, which is designated as “Aqua de Ney,” is unique in its strength and medicinal qualities, being an antiseptic and germicide and has been used in the treatment of stomach and blood diseases for many years with remarkable results. The water has a disagreeable odor, which disappears in a few minutes. It will not affect sound flesh nor cause nausea in a sound stomach, but in cases of badly diseased, inflamed or ulcered stomachs the water should be diluted at first. The best place to try “Aqua de Ney” is at the springs, but the water is also bottled and on the market, so that it is within the reach of all who need it. From another of the springs flows what is called “Beauty Water,” which has excellent qualities as a shampoo, face wash and lotion, being also used to advantage in the cure of cutaneous diseases.
Ney’s Springs has always paid dividends on the investment, not only because of the medicinal value of the water, but also from the fact that this is one of the real beauty spots of northern California, and in a section of the state which is hardly excelled for its rare natural charm and scenic splendor.
John Ney, the discoverer and developer of the springs, was a native of North Carolina and his wife was born in Tennessee. They came across the plains by way of Truckee and Donner Lake, traveling in a train of one hundred wagons, nine months being required to make the long overland journey. Mr. Ney located near Wheatland, where he was in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In the early days he also drove the stage from Smartsville to Wawona, California, and was widely known among the early residents of this section. His death occurred at Oakland, California, though for many years he maintained his summer residence at the springs, to which his friends often insisted that they be brought for treatment. The drive to the springs from Mt. Shasta City is a beautiful one, there being two roads, either one of which is through scenery of unusual charm. All of the improvements and equipment represent the labors of Mr. Ney and his family. The springs have been open to the public during the summer months for practically forty years. Great pine, fir and oak trees abound on every hand and the wild shrubbery contributes to the natural beauty of the surroundings. Excellent hunting and fishing makes this a paradise for those who enjoy such sports. The riparian water rights belong to the land, which is ample protection for the future. Near the headquarters are beautiful falls, nearly one hundred feet high. Mr. Ney died some years ago and his wife passed away in December, 1929. Miss Clara B. Ney, who conducts the place during the summer season, is a teacher by profession, connected with the public schools of Oakland. She has always been greatly interested in the springs and under her supervision they are becoming more popular than ever. There are rooming accommodations for fifty persons, besides the campground space. The baths are under the direction of competent people, and the property is illuminated by electric lights, while throughout the premises modern equipment is utilized, though great pains is taken that nothing be permitted to mar the natural beauty of the scene. With such publicity and development as has been given to places of less real worth, Ney’s Springs would become a world-renowned health and pleasure resort.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.