NPS/Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Spring Type: Mineral
At one time, Bromide, Medicine and Sulphur Springs trickled from a fissure at the base of Bromide Hill. Early cattlement knew them as the "Salt Springs." For much of the early history of the park, the waters of the Bromide Spring were the most sought after; early park superintendents limited visitors to one gallon of bromide water per person per day, without a physician’s prescription.
In the opening years of the Twentieth Century, many testimonials were written about the curative powers of the water:
In 1907 a rough springhouse structure was built over the Bromide Spring. Repeatedly damaged by flooding and later greatly improved, the springhouse served visitors until the Civilian Conservation Corps built a new Bromide Pavilion, on the north side of Rock Creek, in the mid-1930s.
Historically, informal crossings or fords existed to access these springs from across Rock Creek; later a series of bridges were built. The first was the "swinging bridge," built in 1908; a suspension bridge, it was washed away during a flood in 1916. A steel structure was built to replace it, known as the "rainbow bridge." This bridge was removed in 1942, following the removal of the springhouse over the Bromide Spring.
The distinctive Bromide Pavilion dispensed mineral waters reliably for over thirty years. In the early 1970s flow from the Bromide and nearby Medicine springs ceased suddenly; the loss of these once sought-after springs is the most significant resource change the park has witnessed. Today only city water is piped to the Bromide Pavilion.
The massive stone blocks of the Bromide Pavilion, and it's drinking fountains stand as a testament to the age when visitors flocked to the park for the perceived medicinal value of the waters found here.