$560,000 could have bought you the historic Sweet Springs Resort Thursday morning. The property, built in 1791, was auctioned off to a new owner, Ashby Berkley, along with equipment and facilities to bottle the famous Sweet Springs mineral water.
The purchase of Sweet Springs has a lot of meaning for people in Monroe County.
Pauline Baker was born in the community of Sweet Springs in 1910. She passed away just a few months after an interview when she recalled how guests from all over the world once came to visit the great Jeffersonian Hall. "I used to go up to the ballroom and watch them dance; it's beautiful in there."
The Sweet Springs resort Baker grew up next to closed in the 1930s and was sold to the state of West Virginia in 1941. The state renovated it as a home for the elderly in 1945. The facility closed in 1991, and the property has stood empty since. Some attempts to renovate the property have so far have failed or stalled.
Craig Mohler, editor of the Monroe Watchman, says about 200 people showed up to watch the auction on Thursday. There was a lot of excitement in the air as the historic hotel passed into new hands.
"There's just a lot of sentiment about the place. People want to see something happen there. They don't want to see it stand empty, and so there's definitely a lot of community interest in it," said Mohler.
And many people in Monroe County are hoping that the resort will re-open one day-- in some form. Not only because it may bring more jobs, but also because it reminds them of their history, when visitors from all over the world used to come to southern West Virginia for their vacations.