The Bybee Springs and Health Resort, built in 1892 near Wimer, Ore., offered its guests reputed health benefits of the water.
Fire burned the upper floors of the 15-room building in 1948. The structure escaped further damage during a historic 10,000-acre wild fire that passed through the Rogue Valley hills in 1987. The empty building deteriorated until Ken and Connie Hart bought the property in 2000 on East Evans Creek Road in Wimer. Choosing not to demolish the charred 108-year-old hotel, they reconstructed it as their home, restoring its historically-important features, including windows, door frames, hardwood floors, light fixtures and the veranda.
The property’s 200 acres include the one-room Bybee Springs School built in 1913. The Hart family and friends rescued and refurbished the school, converting it into a retreat center for weddings, receptions, and reunions.
William Bybee, builder of the original resort, came from Kentucky in 1854 to settle in Jacksonville, Ore., and 146 years later the Harts migrated from Illinois, a neighboring state of Kentucky. Connie Hart notes that “History still lives here.”
Source: Hart, Connie. Personal interview with author. 7 Dec. 2014