For more than 150 years, French Lick Resort in Indiana has hosted U.S. presidents, Hollywood celebrities, and PGA championship athletes, to name just a few of the resort’s high-profile guests. But the resort in the small town of French Lick, IN (pop. 1,808) has some other claims to fame you’ve probably never heard of.
It’s the Birthplace of Tomato Juice
Back in 1917, French Lick Resort’s world-renowned chef Louis Perrin was preparing breakfast for the hotel’s guests when he realized he was out of oranges for juicing. Needing to provide a freshly-squeezed beverage for his guests, he decided to try juicing tomatoes instead. The rest, as they say, is history.
“The Brown Bomber” Trained Here
Joe Louis, the World Heavyweight Champion from 1937 to 1949, was arguably one of the best boxers of his time. From 1935 to 1950, Louis trained in West Baden. Although he would train at the hotel, he was not allowed to stay in it. At night, he’d retire to the now-defunct Waddy Hotel—an African-American establishment.
Franklin Roosevelt Slept Here
It was at French Lick, in 1931, that Franklin D. Roosevelt used a Governors’ Conference at the hotel to first drum up support for his run at a presidential nomination; a year later, he become the official Democratic candidate, and in 1932 won the presidency.
French Lick Resort Helped the Chicago Cubs Win the World Series
Well, maybe: The first and last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was after they spent their off-season training at French Lick. The year was 1907 and they went on to repeat the win in 1908. Since then, they’ve not won another World Series. If superstitions prove right, it may be time for the Cubs to revisit their old training grounds and restore their playing power.
There’s Something (Good) in the Water
French Lick’s natural springs once drew visitors from hundreds of miles away—the mineral waters, it was said, had 22 different minerals and could cure a variety of ailments, from infertility to arthritis to alcoholism. Dubbed “Pluto Water,” the natural laxative was shipped to pharmacies around the globe and was extremely popular in the U.S. from the early 1900s until production was shut down in 1971.
Scroll through to see photos of this breathtaking resort:
For even more fun facts about French Lick Resort, visit their website!