Where is Bath?

Up until a few years ago, Berkeley Springs had as many stoplights as it had names. Now there are three stoplights but still only two names.

When George Washington and his colonial cronies established a town around the warm springs in 1776, they called it Bath. They had visions of a health and social center like the famed Bath, England. In 1801, the post office was established at Bath and it was called Berkeley Springs since there already was a Bath further south along the Blue Ridge. Up until the Civil War both names were used. Since then, the world has come to know the town around the warm springs as Berkeley Springs although Bath remains the official municipal name.

A road sign south of town states that Bath was formed by an act of the Virginia legislature on October 17, 1776. In fact, the official birthday of Bath is a couple months later.

On November 6, 1776 the legislature received a petition from local citizens and made a recommendation to set off 50 acres around the warm springs for a town named Bath. Over the next month, the Virginia House and Senate amended and re-amended the bill which was finally passed by both on December 6, 1776. According to the act, Bath was born for the express purpose of “encouraging the purchasers to build convenient houses for accommodating numbers of infirm persons, who frequent those springs yearly for the recovery of their health.” Bath was an early economic development project aimed at supporting tourism.