It was eight years after the March 1, 1920, fire that destroyed the elaborate Mudlavia that a new hotel began being erected by Windsor J. Weaver of Indianapolis.
Due to the Depression, a smaller but more modern Mudlavia was not completed until 1934. The building was of a Spanish style with 300 rooms constructed of brick and concrete. Each room had hot and cold water and a private bath.
A large portion of the hotel was built from the existing Sterling Remedy Company laboratory and production facility.
The spa era faded and the new hotel did not regain its former popularity. Ownership changed several times.
It was announced in October 1949 that the Mudlavia Springs Hotel and Sanitarium was going to expand. J.G. Ritter of Los Angeles, Calif., and Tom Loer of New Castle, Ind., purchased 581 acres, hotel, clubhouse, six modern five-room cottages, three farm homes, garage, separate cottage and farm buildings from the Ball family estate for $250,000.
Roy Stewart of New Castle was hired as farm manager to provide the sanitarium with food. The 14 rooms of the clubhouse would be used for regular patient treatments for the time being and later be used to accommodate patients taking special treatments.
Plans were made to renovate the hotel, build 28 duplex apartments for patients, develop a registered dairy herd, update the farm, build a 75-bed sanitarium hospital, remodel the garage into a 30-room housing unit for employees, establish a riding stable, restore the golf course and construct a new building for additional sanitarium treatments.
Mudlavia Springs was famous for more than 50 springs and mud baths. Plans called for accommodations for 250-300 patients. The dining room would be expanded as soon as possible. Lithia water would be one of the specially advertised offerings. They hoped to complete the work in two to three years.
Lola Toy, manager, announced in October of 1957, that the facility was accepting people for the residential lodge. The 28-bed nursing home would cater to older people who desired to spend their later years with others in similar circumstances.
All the rooms were upstairs so it was hoped the majority of residents were ambulatory. The dining room facilities would still be open to the public as would the mud baths.
Another fire occurred Nov. 11, 1968, at the then Pleasant Valley Lodge that was managed by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ruark Jr. The fire destroyed a large portion of the roof and second-story rooms.
By March 1969, the nursing home was reopened. There were five double rooms and 18 single rooms. A nursing station was located upstairs and downstairs.
Don Fowler leased the property from John Seasan of Hobart in 1971 and turned it into a hotel, restaurant, and lounge called Mudlavia Lodge. Fire struck once more on Feb. 12, 1974, and gutted the building. Ownership changed several times until 1981 when Deane and Gayle Breymeyer purchased the property from Lloyd McGowan and sold spring water to a bottling company.
Terri Wargo writes for the Warren County (Indiana) Historical Society.