Background

The master plan for park expansion includes two properties that were added to Hanging Rock State Park in 2014. These properties are the Vade Mecum property and the Moore’s Springs property. Combined, these properties add approximately 750 acres to Hanging Rock State Park.

Both properties include a mineral springs which spurred interest in the area and subsequent development in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Vade Mecum property is home to the former Camp Sertoma, which includes “Cheshire Hall,” a hotel that dates back to 1902, a church from the 1940s, “Tise Hall” (a gymnasium), an Olympic-sized pool, the Vade Mecum spring house, and several cabins. Vade Mecum opened in 1901.  During the 1900s, Vade Mecum was a famous mineral springs resort where people came to spend their summers and enjoy the curative powers of the mineral water from the springs. The water from the springs was sold throughout America. The Vade Mecum water even took the highest honors at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in New Orleans in 1904. Over the course of the years, the property was home to three different hotels. Two of the hotels burned down and one hotel (Cheshire Hall or the South Wing) is still standing.

Following its use as a resort, the property has a history of various uses including several camps for various groups, home to a circus group and numerous community events. The property became the home of Camp Cheshire, which was operated by the Episcopal Diocese from the early 1930s until 1971. Later, 4-H Camp Sertoma operated on this site until 2013.

The dam as it is now. The wheel is on the right.

During its time as a camp Diamond Lake was built. Diamond Lake was a popular swimming hole for the summer camps. Legend has it that at one point when the camp was deserted, the dam was dynamited because of a concern about kids drowning in the lake. The lake was drained as a result of the destruction, however, the dam and pieces of the water wheel remain.

The Moore’s Springs property was home to the former Moore’s Springs campground. Prior to becoming a campground, the property included a hotel and the Moore Family Residence. Moore Springs resort was in operation by 1870 and the hotel, built around 1900, burned in 1926. Several cottages survived the fire which were later adapted into the long one-story building that became the Moore’s Spring Dining Room. The original octagonal spring house remains on the property.

For further historic information please see the following articles:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.