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Home North Carolina Warren County City of Afton Historical Markers Shocco Springs

Shocco Springs

NC-401, Afton, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 14' 14.6166", -81° 22' 20.0946"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Famous health resort, social and recreational center, in nineteenth century. 4 1/2 miles southeast."
     Shocco Springs was among the most popular health resorts in North Carolina during the nineteenth century. Several operated in Warren County, White Sulphur Springs in the southwest section of the county and Panacea Springs near Littleton. The spas were designed to promote health through nearby mineral springs. Shocco Springs operated between 1815 and 1875 and catered to the upper classes of Atlantic coastal towns. Shocco and the other resorts, as major tourist draws, generated considerable wealth for the county.

     Many coastal residents in North Carolina feared the dangers of the “miasma” of hot summers that was believed to cause malaria and general ill health. Shocco Springs became successful, enough to merit its own post office by 1832. The most popular period for the health spas was between 1830 and 1850, which coincided with a period of general prosperity throughout North Carolina.

     The summer season at Shocco Springs attracted mass quantities of people from all over the eastern seaboard. The social scene at Shocco grew to include several weekly dances and daily social events. The North Carolina Standard, in its September 2, 1857 edition, described the balls at Shocco Springs: “We have seldom seen a more handsome or a more brilliant display of female beauty than we looked upon in the ball room at Shocco on Saturday and Monday evenings.”

     Card playing and equestrian activities were common pastimes for gentlemen. Shocco hosted the first medieval recreation tournament on its ground in 1857. The event drew people from as far away as Florida, and focused on an equestrian competition intended to recreate the spirit of medieval jousting tournaments. The tournament became a popular event among the upper classes of the Carolinas, and furthered Warren County as a destination for the wealthy travellers during the summer months.

      The Civil War led to a decline in the popularity of resorts, due to the difficulty of travel during the period. After the war, the resorts once again became common destinations for the wealthy, although the Warren County spas never regained their pre-war popularity. The last resort hotel, Panacea Springs, was built in the 1880s, towards the end of the trend, and closed during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Kenneth McFarland, The Architecture of Warren County, North Carolina (2001)
Bill Sharpe, A New Geography of North Carolina, IV (1965)
Lizzie Wilson Montgomery, Sketches of Old Warrenton, North Carolina (1924)
Guion Griffis Johnson, Ante-bellum North Carolina: A Social History (1937)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.

Shocco Springs Historical Marker Location Map, Afton, North Carolina