Homesteader J.O. Langford built the hot springs into a thriving business in the early 1900s, after he heard of the reputed healing power of the mineral-rich waters. Langford was born in Mississippi and had contracted malaria as a child, suffering recurring bouts of stomach ailments thereafter. He heard about the hot springs' healing powers in an Alpine, Texas, hotel but was warned there was "nothing down there but rattlesnakes and bandit Mexicans" to be in the tough region of West Texas along the Rio Grande River. Langford filed a claim under the Homestead Act, and soon the land was his.
The Homestead Act required living on property for a minimum of three consecutive years and at least $300 in improvements, and Langford went to work after making the 11-day trip from Alpine to the hot springs with his wife and young child. The frontiersman went through a 21-day treatment of bathing and drinking the hot springs' water, and was reportedly cured. He soon opened the hot springs to others, charging 10 cents a day or $2 for the entire 21-day treatment. He built several buildings, including the old post office pictured in this photo, and created a wall around the springs that sits on the edge of the Rio Grande River.
The spring's water is a constant 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and carries dissolved mineral salts. It remains open to the public (no charge), and is a wonderful way to end the day. You can visit day or night, but I recommend nighttime visits to watch the star-studded night sky. It is simply stunning.