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Byron Hot Springs Hotel Token - California Resort and World War II POW Camp

WillieBoyd2WillieBoyd2 Posts: 5,036 ✭✭✭✭✭

This token has been on my wish list since August 30, 2013 when I visited the ruins of the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort.

I finally got one.

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Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Sanitarium Token
Brass, 21mm, 4.57gm
Obverse: BYRON HOT SPRINGS / HOTEL AND SANITARIUM / CAL
Reverse: GOOD FOR / 12½ CENTS / IN TRADE AT BUFFET

The token dates from the period 1901 to 1912 when the hotel operated as a health resort and sanitarium.

Byron Hot Springs and the town of Byron are located in California's Central Valley, near the cities of Stockton and Sacramento.

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Byron Hot Springs Hotel entrance in 2013

The sulfur springs originally attracted Indians and then settlers.

The first hotel ran from 1889 to 1901, the second as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Sanitarium ran from 1901 to 1912, and the third as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort ran from 1913 to 1938.

In 1913 a four-story brick hotel was opened as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort. It operated as a vacation spot for the rich and famous. Various celebrities stayed there including comedian Fatty Arbuckle and actor Clark Gable. The San Francisco Seals baseball team of the Pacific Coast League used the resort for spring training a few times. This hotel closed in 1938.

In 1942 the United States War Department took over the buildings for use as a World War II prisoner of war (POW) interrogation center named Camp Tracy after another nearby town. The first prisoners were German and later most were Japanese soldiers and sailors who surrendered or were captured.

The camp officials decided not to use Gestapo methods (torture) to get information, figuring that they would get more and accurate information by humane methods which were usually successful.

When the war ended in 1945 the POW camp closed and the place was given back to the owner.

It was then sold to the Greek Orthodox Church to be used as a retreat and after 1956 the property changed owners several times.

The springs are no more as the Army capped them in 1945.

In 2005 a grass fire ignited the main building which burned leaving the brick frame.

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Byron Hot Springs Hotel ruins in 2013

Occultists and paranormalists believe the place to be haunted and various "ghostbusters" have examined the area.

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Byron Hot Springs Hotel interior

"Who ya gonna call?"

:)

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Comments

  • 1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 13,772 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 11, 2017 6:29AM

    Very interesting history, thanks for posting it :smile:

    And congrats on finding the token that you were searching for.

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  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the history and great pictures.... Nice token too... Cheers, RickO

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,717 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not a very creepy place in the Calif. sunshine with the palm trees nearby, but it is amazing what is left of the structure - obviously well built. Must be some good metal detecting there considering all the uses it had.

  • EXOJUNKIEEXOJUNKIE Posts: 1,609 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Always love a good token story -- thanks for posting it!

    I'm addicted to exonumia ... it is numismatic crack!

    ANA LM

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  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonder how much the buffet cost then?

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!

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