Brazos Trail Region

In 1892, a gusher blew in Marlin — not of oil but of hot mineral water. In a discovery that would change the face of the community, water shot 75 feet into the air. Within three years, Marlin became a spa boomtown. People flocked from all over the country to enjoy the purported health benefits of the mineral waters. The introduction of antibiotics and other modern medical treatments diminished the need for “taking the waters.” Marlin’s grand bathhouses no longer stand, but the artesian wells still spew 48,000 gallons of 147-degree water each day. The geothermal energy is used to heat the chamber of commerce office and the hospital. At the Hot Water Pavilion downtown, visitors can touch the hot water pouring from a marble fountain. Across the street, a 1929 Hilton Hotel, one of the first built by hotelier Conrad Hilton, still stands as a poignant reminder of the town’s bustling spa era.