Situated in the heart of the Mississippi valley is Dixon Springs, one of the most delightful summer resorts of our country. Owned and operated by the Wheeler Brothers, Charles Bourquin Wheeler and Fred Leon Wheeler, it is located in Pope county, Illinois, on the Golconda branch of the Illinois Central Railroad, six miles northeast of Reesville, and a little less than two miles from Dixon Springs Station, The Wheeler Brothers, who are gentlemen of great enterprise and keen foresight, are putting forth every effort to render tbis picturesque spot, of the Ozark Mountain Range especially attractive, not only to those desiring benefit from the sparkling waters of the various mineral springs that here abound, but to the youthful or aged that feel need of the tonic given by the invigorating atmosphere of the place, and for all who are seeking the best possible locality in which to enjoy a summer outing.
The medicinal value of the waters of these springs have been known for many decades, the Algonquin Indians, who made occasional trips to the territory south of the Tennessee river to wage war upon the 1549
Iroquois tribe of savages, using this spot as a camping ground and naming it “Kitche Mus ke Nee be,” a term signifying “Great Medicine Water.” In 1848 William Dixon, an early pioneer of Pope county, obtained a grant to this tract of school-land from Governor French, and here erected his old cabin home, which was built of logs of his own hewing. The cabin still stands, apparently as strong as when it was erected, the two large fireplaces telling of the primitive life of the first settlers. An old log church standing near by was the first place of worship in the vicinity and the scene of many an historical event. The natural scenery hereabout is unsurpassed for romantic beauty and picturesque effects in any part of the world, scenes of enchanting loveliness, and matchless grandeur abounding, bold cliffs and beetling crags overhanging Tennysonian babbling brooks, while huge fern and ivy fringed boulders ornament the mountain sides. The silvery beech trees, fragrant, health-giving cedars, and massive oaks are frequented by frolicking squirrels and warbling birds that here put forth their most joyous songs, making the groves and forests resound with music. Here Nature speaks in no unmistaken tones to the botanist and geologist, telling tales of interest to the former and of weird volcanic eruptions to the latter, rehearsing the grand story of creation which is constantly going on.
Among the places of interest visited by the many guests especial mention may be made of Album Rock, Red Men's Retreat, the Wolf Pen, Lover's Leap, the Ghost Dance, Pluto's Cave, Spring Lake, Rainbow Lake, the Devil's Workshop, Honey Comb Rock, and The Canyon, all of which have been so significantly named that little description is needed.
The waters of the springs are rich in mineral properties, as certified by Mr. W. F. Langelier, chemist, State Water Survey, University of Illinois, who has made a complete analysis of each spring, finding combinations of sulphates, chlorides, carbonates, while potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, alumina, silica, chloride, sulphate and nitrate are of especial curative value, iron being a powerful blood restorer. People suffering with rheumatism, dyspepsia or kidney disease in any form, malaria or stomach troubles, find not only speedy relief, but permanent cure from the use of the waters of these springs, many a guest going home after here receiving treatment a rejuvenated being, physically and mentally.
The Dixon Springs Hotel, owned by Messrs. Charles B. and Fred L. Wheeler is leased and managed by Martin Louis Wheeler, and Doctors Walker and Fisher; the attending physicians, are men who stand high in their profession. The hotel is in thorough repair, and the furnishing and equipments are modern and up-to-date in every respect. Clean and roomy tents have been installed for the use of those preferring to sleep out of doors, and in the bath house mineral or soft water baths, either hot or cold, can be had at any time of the day.
Charles Bourquin Wheeler, the eldest of the Wheeler Brothers, whose firm name appears at the head of this sketch, was born, in 1867, in McLean county, Illinois, about fifteen miles from Bloomington, being one of a family of twelve children. His father, David Wheeler, the third in direct line to bear that name was of New England birth and ancestry, having been born and reared in Maine. He married and, after living for a few years in Illinois, migrated still farther west,, settling in Kansas in 1877.
Brought up on a farm, Charles B. Wheeler attended school until sixteen years old, when he entered a mercantile establishment in Kansas as a clerk. After nine years in that capacity he became traveling salesman for a Chicago firm, the R. P. Smith & Sons Shoe Company, with which he was associated seven years. Since that time he has been similarly
employed with the firm of Robertson, Johnson & Rand, the largest shoe house in the country, and one of the most prominent business firms of Saint Louis, its annual business amounting to nearly fourteen million dollars.
Fred Leon Wheeler, of the firm of Wheeler Brothers, was born in Marion, Kansas, in 1879, and was there educated. He, too, is traveling in the interests of the Saint Louis firm, Robertson, Johnson & Rand, being a most active and successful salesman on the road.
These brothers have wisely invested their money in land, being owners, as before mentioned, of Dixon Springs, on which they have made improvements of great value, each year adding to its attractions as a health and pleasure resort. In connection with this beautiful place they own a farm of one hundred acres, on which, in addition to its many scenic points of interest, many of the vegetables and dairy productions found upon the table of the well-kept hotel are raised.
These brothers have spared neither pains nor expense in the improving of their valuable property, and in adding to the attractions of their summer resort have recently had constructed a rustic bridge, which is quite unique. Eighty feet in length, it is built in three sections, and is supported by huge cypress logs, fifty-five feet in length, resting on stone piers, being amply strong to sustain the weight of a moving train of cars. Dixon Springs has its own water works, the water being furnished by the famous spring number seven, “Ma Mi No Mo”, meaning in English “The Great Spirit Water”, it being conveyed to the hotel through two thousand, four hundred feet of two-inch pipe. This spring is lined with white vitrolite, a substance said to be many times harder than marble, and its waters are declared by chemists to be absolutely pure.
Messrs. Charles B. and Fred L. Wheeler are both prominent members of the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons, having taken the Scottish Rite and York degrees, and both belonging to the Consistory. Mr. Charles Wheeler is likewise a member of the Knights of Pythias. Although these brothers agree one with another in most things, they differ in their political beliefs, Charles being affiliated with the Republicans, while Fred is an ardent supporter of the principles of the Democratic party.