Imperial Baths – An Abandoned Spa in Sharon Springs

Imperial Spa

The Imperial Baths were located in the town of Sharon Springs, New York, USA. The village was well known for its sulphur baths, long rumoured to be the location of the fountain of youth which gave rise to spa tourism from the 1920s onwards.

Imperial Baths damaged toilets

Damaged toilets in the Imperial Baths.

The reputation of Sharon Springs as a spa town grew in the late 19th century as word of its healing properties spread. Sharon Springs has sulphur, magnesia, chalybeate and ‘Blue Stone’ springs, making it popular for treatment of a myriad of ailments. Those with arthritis, rheumatism and more spoke highly of it’s curative properties. With the added attraction of picturesque surroundings, the village continued to grow in popularity.

Imperial Baths turnstile

A turnstile at the entrance.

The village is characterised by the strong rotten egg like smell that hits you as you enter the valley, emanating from the white sulphur springs. It flows at approximately 96 gallons per minute. The temperature of the water year round is 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) and lacks the acidity normally found in sulphur waters. The water could be drunk for internal disorders or externally for bathing. It was often also inhaled to help aid pulmonary disorders.

Creepy abandoned corridor

A corridor with doors to treatment rooms on either side.

The first bathhouse in Sharon Springs was built in 1876. The Lower Sulphur Bathhouse was located on Main Street and many physicians prescribed treatments at the facility. These included colonic irrigations for gallbladder issues using natural magnesia water.

Corridor in an abandoned building

Another corridor, this time with pieces of the wood panelling which has fallen from the roof and walls.

Tourism in the village continued to increase as more people sought mineral water therapy. Hotels were built including the Spanish Colonial Revival style Adler Hotel. These hotels welcomed guests from New York high society including such as the Vanderbilts and the Rensselaers. Even Oscar Wilde visited.

Waiting area in Imperial Baths

A waiting area.

Water tanks in the Imperial Baths

Large tanks used to store water for the springs. It could then be piped to anywhere in the facility.

The Imperial Baths were built just before the Adler Hotel in 1927 on Main Street. It was designed large and elegant to impress visitors and inside boasted 43 tubs, private resting rooms and 4 massage rooms. The White Sulphur Springs Company built the baths and it could provide 5000 treatments a day.

Inside a treatment room

Inside a treatment room. It has yet to see the worst effects of being left abandoned.

Treatment room in Imperial baths

Another treatment room. You can see a device for treatment at the back of the room on the left.

Sharon Springs began to decline in the 1940s although it saw a revival after World War II. The West German government paid for medical care for Holocaust survivors who visited for therapeutic spa vacations. It maintained its popularity among the Jewish community for a number of years before declining again in the 1980s. With the Imperial Baths no longer commercially viable, it was closed in 2002 and left abandoned.

Corridor in abandoned building

This corridor is in much better condition than those above. Photos: Tom Slatin  More at –

The bathhouse was bought by Sharon Springs Inc, owned by Kyu Sung Cho, a Korean business man. The company also bought the Columbia Hotel, Washington Hotel and Adler Hotel with ambitions to return the village to its glorious spa resort days.

Location: Sharon Springs, New York, USA 🇺🇸
Abandoned: 2002

5 thoughts on “Imperial Baths – An Abandoned Spa in Sharon Springs”

  1. Back in 1989 I was on a bicycle tour of New York State. Several of us stopped at the Imperial Baths on a very hot day maybe 50 miles into the ride. I did write a journal entry about the baths.
    “One of the riders described it very well when he said it looked like it was out of the 19th century. You noticed a very strong sulfur odor as soon as you entered. I paid eight dollars to a woman with a very strong Russian? accent and followed the sighs to the baths, I walked into a large hallway with numerous doors on both sides, then entered a changing room and disrobed while an attendant filled a tub in the next room.
    When the bath was ready I went in and saw a very large tub of hot sulfur water. I thought at first that I wasted my money-just the smell made me want to leave but I climbed into the bathtub which initially felt very hot but got used to it in a few seconds. I laid back in the tub and the feeling I had was wonderful. I can’t really describe what it felt like, but sitting in that hot bubbling water but made every cell on my skin felt like it was having an orgasm! I couldn’t believe how good it felt on my sore, tight muscles. I sat in the tub for a good half hour then it was time to leave” After getting out I was totally exhausted and had to rest until I regained my strength got back on the bicycle and finished the ride.
    I guess they closed the baths around 2002. I still vividly remember it 34 years later.

  2. Pingback: Byron Hot Springs - An Abandoned Hotel Resort in California

  3. Pingback: Adler Hotel - An Abandoned Hotel in New York State

  4. My Husband and I were out driving one day and happened upon the Hotel Adler,My god that is a wonderful piece of history!Is anyone is going to renovate this property?It is too pleasant to wreck,it has a history!In the event that you need to raise money,give tours pretty much as the building is now.My husband and I would love to walk through this piece of history. @Sylvia Powell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *