Medical Springs is a remote hot springs resort hails from the historical era of major fashionable hot springs resorts, of which Oregon had several, such as the Blue Mountain Hot Springs Resort near John Day/Prarie City.... The proprietors of Medical Springs for many years around 1917 were Dunham Wright and Grace Powers. My image above was taken Summer 2002 on one of those perfect warm, dry clear days for which the area is justly famed. To get there, take State Highway 203 southeast from LaGrande for around 25 miles. The Cove Hot Springs are also in this general vicinity, a bit northward. Cove is notable because its hot water arises in exceptional force and volume from the earth. .
Unfortunately, most of Oregon's hot springs resorts have fallen victim to changing fads and styles, as well as prohibitively expensive government health regulations related to public bathing and swimming pools. Some, like Washington's Carson Hot Springs have had money troubles leading to poor reviews by users. In the case of Medical Springs, after many years of closure, teir saga is recently more hopeful.
As of 2002, one of the original homesteading descendants had retired and returned to the family homestead at the hot springs with dreams of bringing back Medical Springs, perhaps as some type of bed and breakfast.
The very historic Sumpter gold mining district is found in the same general part of the State as Medical Springs. The main area lies about 35 (air) miles southwest of Medical Springs. It lies on the Elkhorn Mountains Scenic Byway, which is State Highway 7 for the most part....It's a pretty remote area of Oregon, so be sure to gas up well before leaving town, the nearest real town being Baker. Sumpter has a small permanent population, a website, and even two webcams. The gold was found in 1862, but the mining did not boom until the transcontinental railroad reached Baker in 1884. It boomed some more after the Sumpter Valley Railroad reached Sumpter in 1896. At its height in the early 1900s, the town of Sumpter had a population of 5,000 and had its own opera house and red light district! Much of the mining was done via enormous dredging operations within the Sumpter Valley along the clear waters of the Powder River. The course of the mining became somewhat up and down in the early 1900s, and especially so after a fire decimated the original town in August of 1917. ...The last of the gold dredging finally shut down in 1954, but one of the town's best remaining mining exhibits is the 10 ton "Monighan," a "walking dragline" that was built in 1919 and came to Sumpter to do dry-land dredging for gold in 1940. It's now part of the Cracker Creek Museum of Mining... Another Sumpter website is Sumpter.com and another is: http://www.sumpter.org/