Jemez Springs circa 1890
Jemez Springs circa 1890

The Jemez Springs Bath House was one of the first structures to be built in what is now Jemez Springs. It was between 1870 and 1878 and was the first structure in existence. The Bath House was initially operated by the Otero and Perea families. In 1924 the Bath House was operated by Charlie Clay and in 1940 Dr. Bruington gave the Bath House to the Catholic priests who in turn sold it to the Village of Jemez Springs in 1961.

The Canyon de San Diego has been settled for centuries. Jemez Pueblo and the Jemez Mission Church have long been in existence. The hot springs along the canyon had been frequented by both Indians and the Spanish. The Canyon de San Diego Land Grant, in which Jemez Springs is now located, was made by royal decree in 1729. From that time until the 1870’s, the settlers in the canyon farmed and were associated with Jemez Pueblo.

In 1860 settlers heard a roar and found that one of the hot springs had erupted like a geyser. Once the eruption subsided, a rock enclosure was built around the spring. It is this spring that is used for the bath house, The bath house was the first effort to take commercial advantage of the hot springs and was the first indication that Jemez Springs would become a popular resort area.

The spring itself has some significance. It is enclosed by a well structure which was built during the 1920’s as a WPA project. The springs water has so many minerals in it that occasionally the well has to be drilled out. In addition, biologists from University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University have found algae, which is indigenous to the spring, near the main building.

In summers past the Jemez Springs Bath House became the hub of the Valley, with people coming from miles around to take advantage of the healing powers of the natural hot mineral springs. Tents sprung up making a tent town. The bathhouse had a large swimming pool fed by the hot mineral springs for all to enjoy but has since been filled in. Many wish the pool was still there, but the large cement tubs still afford comfort to those who still seek the healing waters. The Jemez Springs Bath House is over a 100 years old and is a State Historical Site.

Information documented by the National Register of Historic Places 1980.