While many of us are taken aback by what we refer to as ‘the rotten egg’ smell coming from water due to the high levels of sulphur, historically sulphur water was understood to have various health benefits. There was one area in the Eastern Townships in particular, known as Potton Springs, once a hamlet in the Township of Potton, that flourished as a result of the discovery of three sulphur springs in 1828. While there is very little left to the Potton Springs site today to serve as reminder of this once booming village, once upon a time people came from far and wide to test its waters and to stay at the famous Potton Sulphur Springs Hotel. The three sulphur springs were thought to have been discovered by 14-year-old Nathan Banfill when he was looking for a drink at the base of Pevee Mountain in 1828. As people came to find out about the springs, they started making their way to what eventually became known as Potton Springs to take advantage of the sulphur water. The McMannis Hotel, located on Mountain Road, provided services to those who traveled to Potton Springs on horse and buggy. It was believed that sulphur water possessed medicinal, healing, and therapeutic properties. It supposedly cured everything from liver ailments, stomach inflammation, rheumatism, and skin disorders. In 1875, businessman N.H. Green decided to take advantage of the sulphur springs and constructed the Potton Sulphur Springs Hotel. With its famous sulphur waters and what was described as a spa resort, Potton Springs eventually became established as a popular tourist destination; especially with the construction of the railway linking Eastman to Potton Springs in 1877. See full story in the Wednesday, March 11 edition of The Record.
By Taylor McClure, Special to The Record