The following is a time line of major events affecting the Byron Hot Springs. The author makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the event and date. Individuals with additional or differing information are encouraged to contact the author.
Pre 1760's California Indians and Anglo Fur Traders visit the site
1772 Pedro Fages, Spanish explorer, passes by the Hot Springs
1773 Juan Bautista de Anza, Spanish explorer, passes by Hot Springs
1776 Jose Joaquin Moraga, Spanish explorer, passes by Hot Springs
1847, Sept. 7 Lewis Risdon Mead born in Saline, Michigan.
1861 Orange Risdon, Jr. files an application for a land patent with the U.S. Land Department
1863, March 21 "Saline Salt Manufacturing and Mining Company" incorporated in the State of California. Capital Stock $100,000. Divided into 1,00 shares of $100 each. Trustees: John A. Risdon, William Ware, Lewis Coffee, L. Hagedon, and O. Risdon, Jr.
1865 Lewis Risdon Mead arrives in California
1865, Oct. Orange Risdon, Jr. receives a land patent for 160 acres encompassing the Hot Springs signed by President Andrew Johnson
1866 Risdon erects a salt evaporation plant on the property. Plans did not develop
1868 Lewis Risdon Mead, nephew of Orange Risdon, Jr. takes over exploitation and development of the Hot Springs Site
1868 A bath House constructed over the Sulfur Springs
1868 Lewis Mead builds a 20 Room structure to accommodate guests
1872 Lewis Mead builds a 10 room guest house or First Annex to the 1868 Structure on the site.
1873 Lewis R. Mead marries Blanche Durant
1873 Orange Risdon, Jr. dies in San Luis Obispo, and father, Orange Risdon, Sr. inherits his estate. Lewis Mead appointed Executor of Orange Risdon, Jr. Estate.
1875 March 31 Louis Durant Mead born to Lewis and Blanche Mead
H. C. / Amanda E. Gallagher, secure a 5 year lease the resort from Lewis Mead. He/She builds several bathhouses.
1877 Commercial Stage Service/Line established to the Hot Springs
1878 A Second Annex added to accommodate guests
1878 The First Hotel, incorporating prior guest structures and annexes under one roof, opens as "Mead’s Hot Salt Springs" consisting of 50 rooms. Hotel is a wooden structure costing $50,000 was built 300' long x 30 ' wide-building was 2.5. The 5th floor being a tower.
1878 San Pablo & Tulare Railroad arrives in the area later acquired and incorporated into the Southern Pacific Railroad
1885, Jan.30 Lewis Mead’s purchase of Hot Springs confirmed by U.S. Superior Court from Lewis Risdon Mead, Sr.
1885 Mead fills in "salt basin" with I0 to 12 feet of good fill dirt to plant graders and lawns. He develops a semi-tropical garden with evergreen trees; palms; lawns and flowers-eventually fountains, gazebo , rock and more were added - gas lamps were added about the same time.
1886 Mead Cottage built
1886 Byron Hot Springs School opens on land donated by John Armstrong on what is now the Byron Airport property, Armstrong Road.
1889 Natural Gas Wells developed on property.
1889, August 17 Post Office Established at the Springs-Albert Bettens was resort manager at that time.
1890 George J. Casanova was acting manager of the Resort
1901, July 25 First Hotel destroyed. Cottages, the laundry, the gas plant, and the ice plant-it is believed that the fire started from faulty flue in the attic. (fire was at 1 p.m. in the afternoon--140 guests were evacuated)
1902, Dec. 2 Byron Train Wreck. Stockton Flyer rear ends south bound Owl train killing and injuring 40 people
1902 Second Hotel constructed at a reported cost of $150,000, situated on a knoll directly across from where first hotel was located-a one-story stucco structure, Moorish style architecture, built by Reid Brothers, San Francisco
1903, December 22 Hot Springs Incorporated by Lewis Mead, Blanch Mead, Charles Parent, Sarah Benett, and Joseph Rolph as directors.
1903 Supervisors of California held their Annual Banquet at the Springs -- many high ranking state politicians present.
1905, October 31 Dr. Louis D. Mead marries Charlotte Lanneau of New York
1905, December 26 Blanche Durant Mead, first wife of Lewis Risdon Mead, dies at the Byron Hot Springs.
1907, June 20 Lewis Risdon Mead marries his second wife, Mae Sadler of Alameda.
1911 US Geological Survey printed a volume of "Springs in California," noting the Hot Spring primary mineral contents as sodium, potassium, sulfide, chloride and carbonate.
1912, July 12, 5:00 2nd hotel burns. B.M. Briare was manager at the time. There were 100 guests evacuated the building safely at the time. Faulty wiring credited with starting the fire.
1913, Oct. 8 Luke Buger named superintendent of construction for the 3rd Hotel. Cost estimated to be $50,000.00 and to open in March 1914.
1914, July 3rd Hotel of 52 rooms opens at a reputed cost of $150,000.00--a brick, four story, fireproof building
1916, June 13 Lewis Mead dies of bronchial pneumonia leaving the Hot Springs Resort to his wife, Mae Sadler Mead. Mrs. Mead builds memorial building for her late husband at a cost of $10,000. The building contained Alaskan marble hot mud baths with inlaid tile, scenes of mountains, valley’s and streams painted on the walls. Architect, Reid Bros, San Francisco.
1918, June Lewis Durant Mead, M.D, only son of the founder, dies of "softening of the brain" at Byron Hot Springs.
1919 Mead’s widow leases the Hot Springs to San Francisco restaurateur, John Tait. Tait spends $250,000 on improvements including a swimming pool, mineral baths, and golf course.
1920 Lewis Risdon Mead’s widow, Mae (Sadler) Mead, marries James Reid, architect of the 2nd, 3rd hotel and the "Mead Memorial" (Liver Kidney Room).
1931 J. Ward Cohen of Los Angeles leases Hot Sprints on 99 year lease value reputed to involve $1 million.
1932, May 27 Springs leased by Albert Ichelson, Management of Hotel by William Merritt.
193X Springs subleased to Pacific Resorts Hotel Company by A. Ichelson
1937 Albert Bettens, once time manager of the Hotel under Mead, secures a 99 year lease. Charles W. Ayer becomes manager of Hot Springs.
1936 Civil Litigation against Charles W. Ayer for removing all the furnishings and equipment at the resort; allowing electricity to be shut off; and resultant draining of pools
1938 Byron Hot Springs Resort closes as a resort destination.
1942, May Byron Hot springs leased by U.S. Government and from the Byron Hot Springs Corporation (Mrs. Mead and Mrs. Lewis Durant Mead, shareholders) by the U.S. Army
1943, January Byron Hot Springs becomes "Camp Tracy" U.S. Army Interrogation Center for German and Japanese prisoners of WW II.
1945 Camp Tracy used primarily for Japanese and Nazi prisoner of war interrogation
1945, August Byron Hot Springs Interrogation Center (a.k.a "Tracy Depot") ordered closed by U.S. Army
1945, Sept. 12 "Camp Tracy" declared surplus by the Army Corp of Engineers
1948, Dec. Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America purchase Springs for reputed $105,000.00 from Byron Hot Springs Corporation. Property consecrated as Mission St. Paul. Full plans for the property never realized
1950's Contra Costa County considers purchasing the resort and using it as a Polio therapy center for the county. Plans never realized.
1950 CA PUC approves Byron Hot Springs Station (class D station) dropped from Southern Pacific Railroad Schedule and timetables.
1956 Newly formed Byron Hot Springs Corporation announces plans for Hot Springs. Principal parties are Dr. E.E. Pecore, Alameda chiropractor, President; H.E. Bussey, Alameda Accountant, Director; and Mrs. May Connolly, Alameda, Secretary. Fabian Brown, attorney for the corporation. Louis Souza, treasurer, James Hannum, Vice President both of Byron
1957 Hot Springs sold to Dr. E.E. Pecore for reputed $125,000.00.
1959 December Donnelson Enterprises (J. Branch Donnelson) purchases resort from Greek Orthodox Church. Donnelson’s associates, Eugene Jones of Berkeley, Richard Albertson of San Francisco & Ray Homesworth of Byron.
1965 Mae Sadler (Mead) Reid dies, San Francisco
1972 Jon & Dixie Adam purchase the resort with plans to restore it to it's original splendor. Property reputedly acquired for $259,000.00.
1972, May/June Great 1890's International Bazaar held at the Hot Springs staged by the "Harbingers."
1978 January. Mansour Hakimi, an Iranian millionaire, bought property from Jon Adams for $650,000.
1978, Jan. 31 Drill for hot springs and locate 3 hot water wells (one hot spring found at a depth of 140 feet. Water is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and flowing at a rate of 200 gallons per minute.
1978, March Old Mud Bath house torn down.
1987 Contra Costa County acquires rural airstrip dating from Camp Tracy Internment Camp with plans to install a 3,270foot airstrip.
1988 Property acquired by the Ray Lehmkuhl Co., Walnut Creek. Craig Lehmkuhl, Associate.
Property acquired by East Bay Associates, LLC
1994, June KRON "Bay Area Back Roads" films at Byron Hot Springs for television program
2000 Byron Hot Springs awaits the future
© 2004 Byron Hot Springs