For thousands or years, the valley of healing waters (called" Wiwilakahta") by the Lakota Sioux,
was prized for the warm spring-fed river. . .
Both the Sioux and Cheyenne claimed possession of this natural river of warm water springs that flows here. Local legend tells of a fierce battle that raged on the east summit above the springs and river (now called Battle Mountain), with the Sioux emerging victorious.
Years later, in 1876, Colonel W.J. Thornby arrived at the present site of Hot Springs and discovered the source of the warm creek. Near the big spring where the Plunge was later built, he lopped off the top of a cedar sapling, blazed the trunk, and wrote with lead pencil: "This is my spring. W.J. Thornby." In 1881 the spring was held by Joe Brimdschmidt. He traded the spring to Joe Petty for a horse valued at thirty-five dollars! Petty then sold the Plunge Springs to Dr. Stewart who filed on the surrounding land.
Mineral springs sought as a cure-all . . .
Finally, Evans Plunge (named after its builder Fred Evans), was built in 1890 over the numerous small, sparkling springs and one Mammoth spring of mineral water. Originally, Evans Plunge and the other mineral baths in Hot Springs were sought as a cure-all for a multitude of illnesses.
"They (the springs) were the resort of the Indians long before the white man found his way into the jealously guarded realms of the Black Hills, and were considered by the red man as a panacea for all ills. This water has been found useful in the treatment of chronic diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract, diseases of the liver and biliary passages, and in rheumatism and arthritic joint disturbances, gout, and others." quote from Mineral Water in the United States by Dr. W.E. Fitch.
A lot has changed in Hot Springs since 1890.
No longer promoted as a cure for ills, the water still invites visitors for rejuvenation, refreshment, relaxation and recreation. Mammoth Spring, at the north end of the pool in the interior of the Plunge, is know as the "Original Indian Spring". Here the natives drank and bathed in the spring's warm healing water. Today, numerous areas of warm sparkling springs may be felt as one moves through the crystal clear water towards the "Original Indian Spring". So come... experience yesterdays healing waters in today's Evans Plunge.