12 May 2008

French Lick

One of my favorite towns in the world, and in a dead heat with Floyds Knobs for my favorite Indiana town name. French Lick has a rich history as a spa town and gambling resort, but fell on hard times mid-century, when the clearly illegal casinos were finally closed down.

By the time I was a high schooler, I discovered the hotel when some friends reserved a condo near the grounds during spring break. It was operating as a golf resort at the time, the hotel was shabby, but in a classy way. It was in need of a fresh coat of paint and a little love. That's just what it got in the last few years thanks to the Cook family, oh and that casino that just opened...

Time slows down in Indiana, and the grand porch is great to spend a little time watching the rain.

"The Boat in the Moat." Indiana's gambling laws only allow "riverboat casinos." When first enacted in 1993, one could only gamble while the boat was away from the dock. When conditions were too severe to take the boat into the river, they still had to lock the doors and not let anyone on or off the boat, pretending to be away from the dock. The laws are now less strict, and allow gamblers to come and go as they please, but the casino still has to be over water. So, when you want a casino in your town but are 50 miles from the river, you gotta build a moat!
Pluto Water, the healing elixir (and laxative) that originally drew people to French Lick. "When Nature Won't, Pluto Will." It was bottled and exported around the world until the Lithium content raised concerns. Now the Pluto Water bottling plant still has a wicked cool logo, but uses its facilities to bottle various household liquids, from cleaning products to gasoline additives.

The main drawback of the rich mineral water is the sulfurous odor. The whiff of rotten eggs greets you as you walk into the old well house. Before the recent remodel, the wall around the well (is there a name for that?) was low enough to allow one to dip into the healing waters. Now the water is safely out of reach, about 6 feet down. If I remember correctly, it really doesn't taste that terrible as long as you hold your breath as you swallow it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They're actually redoing the casino into a complete land-based casino. No more boat, no more water. The building exterior now matches the french lick hotel!