Friday, January 8, 2010

French Lick, Indiana – Daryle Lambert's Antique and Collectibles Blog- My favorite place.

French Lick - Thanks to

When I was a kid my parents kept talking about this great place in Indiana called French Lick. I had no idea what it was and with that funny name I wasn't sure it was a place I would like to visit but that all changed as I grew older.

French Lick has had a colorful past as can be seen by this account of its history. It is once again coming to life as a resort establishment and I believe that my children will have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I have.

French Lick was originally a French trading post built near a spring and salt lick. A fortified ranger post was established near the springs in 1811. On an 1835 map of Indiana, the community was known as Salt Spring. The town was founded in 1857.

The sulfur springs were commercially exploited for medical benefits starting in 1840. By the latter half of the 19th century, French Lick was famous in the United States as a spa town. In the early 20th century it also featured casinos attracting celebrities like boxer Joe Louis, composer Irving Berlin and gangster Al Capone.

In 1943, the Chicago Cubs held Spring Training camp in French Lick. In order to conserve rail transport during World War II, the 1943 Spring Training was limited to an area east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio River.

The French Lick Resort Casino was the focal point of most of the entertainment; the hotel remained open well after the casinos were closed down and the heyday of the town was well past. The resort closed for renovation in 2005.

Pluto Water, a best selling laxative of the first half of the 20th century, was bottled here. It was also home to a large 7-Up bottling facility, which ceased operation in the mid-20th century.

Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his intention to run for president at a National Governors' Convention held at the French Lick Springs Hotel.

The town has been best known for being the hometown of NBA great Larry Bird ever since his professional basketball career took off. In his later basketball career, Bird was given the nickname "the Hick from French Lick". French Lick is also the hometown of former Sacramento Kings head coach Jerry Reynolds, who currently works as the team's color commentator on its television broadcasts and is the Kings' director of player personnel.

My wife and I attended a bridge tournament in French Lick in about 1980 and pledge to return there whenever we got a chance. This brings me back to why am I writing this blog. Well you see, there are a lot of people who have enjoyed French Lick as much as I have, and memorabilia from there commands premium prices. Here are just a few examples: French Lick Indiana Resort key box clock with keys $975, French Lick Kentucky Derby paper weight $190, Antique French Lick Springs Hotel miniature loving cup $127.50, Sterling Souvenir Spoon $63, French Lick Springs Hotel Black Knight coffee cup $45 and a postcard of guest to the French Lick Hotel on horseback $41.

This may make you think of some of your favorite places and if you check, their memorabilia might also be things to watch out for. Happy Hunting

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1 comment:

  1. You attended a bridge tournament in French Lick in 1980.

    Sounds really exciting.