Historical Markers
Chester Springs Historical Marker
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Chester Springs

Philadelphia and its Countryside/Lehigh Valley


Marker Location:
PA 113 at Chester Springs

Dedication Date:
May 13, 1948

Behind the Marker

The mineral springs at this location first attracted Lenni Lenape Indians and later colonial Americans – who all swore by the healing or restorative powers of the waters. Although Yellow Springs had been something of a resort prior to 1750, that year a newly built road from Philadelphia made the springs truly accessible to visitors.

Washington stopped here following his defeat at the Battle of Brandywine. From his headquarters, he fired off a series of directives urging the army to conserve ammunition, pleading with his poorly supplied troops that "the salvation of their country marker may depend thereon."

Historians estimate that more than 2,000 Continental soldiers died during the Valley Forge winter of 1777-78, mostly from diseases spread by unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition, and harsh exposure. The hospital at Yellow or Chester Springs handled many of the sick, although other regional hospitals also received military patients. markerDr. Bodo Otto, a German-born physician, served as Surgeon-in-Chief of the Yellow Springs hospital.

Under Dr. Otto's direction, Yellow Springs earned a reputation as one of the better-managed wartime hospitals, but it was still a gruesome place in an era before doctors took antiseptic measures to prevent the spread of germs or understood how to alleviate pain with little besides alcohol. The result was often dirty, drunken patients living in squalor. "This hospital seems to be very neat and the sick comfortably provided for," wrote an army chaplain following a visit to Yellow Springs, "tho Wickedness I understand prevails among the Convalescents."

In 1974, a small group of local residents and preservationists purchased the remnants of the village of Yellow Springs –about 15 buildings on 145 acres. Currently, the village is working on interpretive and conservation plans to further preserve and share the history of the village with visitors.
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