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Indian Spring Hotel papers

Chief William McIntosh (ca. 1778-1825) of the Lower Muscogee (Creek) Nation was born Taskanugi Hatke (White Warrior) to Captain William McIntosh of Savannah, GA and Senoya, a Muscogee woman of the Wind Clan. Chief McIntosh received the 1000 acres that would become Indian Springs for his role in signing the first Treaty of Indian Springs in 1821 after years of supporting the expansion of white settlers and culture into Muscogee territory. Indian Springs has its roots in oral history of the water's healing properties and was frequented by tribal men only due to the belief that the noise caused by women and children would frighten the spirits thought to give the springs their power. Mr. Reneau de Beauchamp's research confirmed the existence of an inn predating the 1823-25 structure, operated by McIntosh before the Indian Spring Hotel's construction. The hotel's primary structure was built in 1823 by McIntosh and his cousin Joel Bailey to serve as a hotel for those seeking the healing properties of the nearby spring waters.

A two story addition was added in 1825, including a tavern that came to be known as the Treaty Room. This room served as the site for the signing of the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs, which ceded the remaining Muscogee lands in Georgia and Alabama to the government and was widely contested by the Muscogee peoples since it did not have approval of the Creek National Council. McIntosh was killed at his home in Carroll County by members of the Upper Muscogee tribe for signing this treaty in accordance with Creek law previously supported by McIntosh himself stating that any leader ceding land the the United States government without full approval of the entire Creek nation would be sentenced to death. After his death on April 30, 1825, the hotel property was transferred to other family members. The hotel was purchased by the Varner family in 1850, who maintained ownership for decades. The hotel was owned by J.H. Elliot and operated as a museum and shop from 1953-74. The State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources acquired the property in 1974 and left it unattended until 1985, when an attempt was made to restore the structure. However, the construction was botched by a contractor and caused damage to the foundation and historical integrity of the hotel.

The Butts County Historical Society obtained the Indian Spring Hotel property from the Department of Natural Resources in 1985. Once Ms. Deryle Lamb took over as President of the Society, she consulted Beauchamp of The Current Past to begin proper preservation and restoration work. This work continued for much of the 1990s and culminated in the opening of the Indian Spring Hotel Museum. The property currently operates as a museum from April to October and hosts a Native American Festival each fall. It is considered the oldest state park in Georgia.