Capon Springs, a national historic district north of Wardensville, West Virginia, in eastern Hampshire County, encompasses a hotel and former mineral springs resort developed principally in the 1800s around a warm mineral spring, the waters of which were proposed to possess curative properties.
The “Capon” spring was established as a destination in the 1760s by Henry Frye, using the anglicized Native American word for “medicinal water.” By the 1850s it had grown into one of the most popular resorts in Virginia, attracting guests who sought relief from both their ailments and the oppressive summer heat of the Virginia lowlands. Through the early 1900s a collection of pavilions and cottages developed among gardens and walkways around the spring; many of these remain today. However, in 1911 its principal hotel building, the Mountain House, built in 1850s, was destroyed in a fire, and the resort languished.
Through the following decade, its investors depended partly on the bottling and distribution of Capon Water in mid-east markets to sustain the enterprise, but recovery was not achieved until the 1930s when one of the chief distributors, Louis Austin, purchased the resort and began to slowly embark on its rehabilitation. Austin’s attention to tradition and personalized hospitality lead to a resurgence of interest in the resort as a vacation destination. Ownership and management of the spring, now operated as Capon Springs & Farm Inc., has since remained in the family. Now being operated by the fourth generation of Austin descendants, the hotel was named family-owned business of the year by the W.Va. Small Business Association in 2013.
The Capon Springs National Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is considered a nationally significant resource of architectural and singular recreational value.