The tranquil setting and history of Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, PA, is a haven for the young and old. Beautifully appointed rooms and suites, top-notch cuisine, and 2,200 acres of mountains, hiking trails, natural springs, and an 18-hole golf course only scratches the surface on what this resort has to offer. The resort is rich with history from the 18th Century and up, and its walls could certainly tell more tales than Mother Goose.
In 1796, Frederick Naugel owned the property that is now Omni Bedford Springs Resort. During this year, the on-property natural springs was discovered to have a high mineral content and were thought to have healing powers associated with them by Native Americans that came to drink and bathe in the springs. By 1798, Dr. John Anderson purchased the land and began drawing customers and patients to the springs, housing them in tents while his new facilities were being built.
In the early 19th Century, Bedford Springs was hugely popular and by mid-century the resort drew flocks of politicians and even served as “The Summer White House” for President James Buchanan in 1857. Men and their wives and families would visit for its outdoorsy setting and, of course, for the benefits the natural springs provided. In total, 12 U.S. Presidents have visited Omni Bedford Springs. Let’s think about that for a second – so much different than modern times!
History of Omni Bedford Springs – A 39-Star Official Flag?
Behind the front desk in the lobby of Omni Bedford Springs hangs a striking 39-star United States flag from 1865. Ok history buffs, I know that in 1865 there were only 36 official states. But the hopes of 3 new states joining upped the hopes of the creator and she added three additional stars. The flag is the only known 39-star flag in existence, and its preservation behind glass and proper lighting made me very happy to learn that proper care is being taken of it.
I had the pleasure of going behind the front desk to check it out up close and it’s absolutely stunning from the stitching to the color to its aging and size.
If you look closely at the above photos, you can see where the stars didn’t match up exactly and the thread from the star behind it is showing through.
History of Omni Bedford Springs – A Tale of Two Trans-Atlantic Cities
On August 12, 1858, President James Buchanan received the first trans-Atlantic telegraph message from a very famous English Queen, Victoria, at Bedford Springs. The telegraph message hangs in the front lobby surrounded by 18th Century photos and other memorabilia. And while it’s not a big piece of paper, what it entails is bigger than the ocean it crossed.
History of Omni Bedford Springs – I Do. Now, Let’s Test My Wedding Ring!
My favorite, the truing of the ring, was a common practice for newlywed brides having just been hitched at Bedford Springs. The new Mrs. would test out her husband’s purchase for authenticity and if the stone in her ring made an etching on the window pane, she knew that the diamond was true.
I loved taking my daughter to Omni Bedford Springs for not only a fun visit, but a history lesson! We learned so much about the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and the true tales will live on in the halls of the resort forever.
Disclosure: And now the technical stuff: I was hosted by Omni Bedford Springs Resort to bring you fine folks the scoop on their gorgeous resort. They certainly didn’t ask me to state a particular point of view, and my opinions are all my own.