Featured Byron Hot Springs Hotel Token - California Resort and World War II POW Camp

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by willieboyd2, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class User

    This token has been on my wish list since August 30, 2013 when I visited the ruins of the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort.

    I finally got one.

    Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Sanitarium Token
    Brass, 21mm, 4.57gm

    The token dates from the period 1901 to 1912 when the hotel operated as a health resort and sanitarium.

    Byron Hot Springs and the town of Byron are located in California's Central Valley, near the cities of Stockton and Sacramento.

    Byron Hot Springs Hotel entrance in 2013

    The sulfur springs originally attracted Indians and then settlers.

    The first hotel ran from 1889 to 1901, the second as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Sanitarium ran from 1901 to 1912, and the third as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort ran from 1913 to 1938.

    In 1913 a four-story brick hotel was opened as the Byron Hot Springs Hotel and Resort. It operated as a vacation spot for the rich and famous. Various celebrities stayed there including comedian Fatty Arbuckle and actor Clark Gable. The San Francisco Seals baseball team of the Pacific Coast League used the resort for spring training a few times. This hotel closed in 1938.

    In 1942 the United States War Department took over the buildings for use as a World War II prisoner of war (POW) interrogation center named Camp Tracy after another nearby town. The first prisoners were German and later most were Japanese soldiers and sailors who surrendered or were captured.

    The camp officials decided not to use Gestapo methods (torture) to get information, figuring that they would get more and accurate information by humane methods which were usually successful.

    When the war ended in 1945 the POW camp closed and the place was given back to the owner.

    It was then sold to the Greek Orthodox Church to be used as a retreat and after 1956 the property changed owners several times.

    The springs are no more as the Army capped them in 1945.

    In 2005 a grass fire ignited the main building which burned leaving the brick frame.

    Byron Hot Springs Hotel ruins in 2013

    Occultists and paranormalists believe the place to be haunted and various "ghostbusters" have examined the area.

    Byron Hot Springs Hotel interior

    "Who ya gonna call?"

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  3. Mike Drop

    Mike Drop Active Member

  4. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Looks to be haunted by street gangs.
    RayeZorSharp likes this.
  5. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Cool stuff! Great write up!
    What area of Cali is it?
  6. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Nice token and write-up.
    I do not have a token. When we went to Hot Spring for my niece's wedding, we gave her a silver sixpence (for her shoe).

    We enjoyed the trip. We saw the famous bath tub races -
    image (21).jpeg

    saw a motel that looked like a beaver dam
    image (15).jpeg

    had breakfast at a waffle shop featured in Southern Living
    image (12).jpeg

    it was a fun trip
  7. dwhiz

    dwhiz Collector Supporter

    Thanks I enjoyed your post.
  8. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Awesome to see a token make the Featured Thread!

    Why did you visit the site? Was it random? Also, how did you know they issued tokens?
    Roman Collector likes this.
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Congrats on a nifty token and writeup and another deserved "Featured" thread, WB2! You're a natural storyteller.
  10. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Enjoyed the history very much. Great looking token. Thank you.
  11. Guy Chamberland

    Guy Chamberland New Member

    Very interesting. But what about the odd 12½¢ value? By that point in time, the ½¢ had ceased to be struck for over half a century. I am aware of the fact that other tokens also bear ½¢ values, and especially 12½¢ which is, of course, ⅛ of a dollar. I find it interesting that this value would still be in use that late.

    Were there ever US tokens with ¼¢ values? I'm thinking of the 6¼¢ value, which is ⅟₁₆ of a dollar. This is found in some of the Caribbean islands.
  12. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    During these times, the quarter was called 2 bits. Hence 12 1/2 cents was a bit...a common denomination for bar tokens.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Yes, the seemingly odd 12-1/2 cents and 6-1/4 cents denominations are holdovers from the old Spanish Milled Dollars of the colonial era, upon which our Founding Fathers based the US dollar. The Spanish dollar circulated in America up until the Civil War, being legal tender until 1857.

    But while the US dollar has always been a decimal currency, the old Spanish dollars were divided into eighths (8 "bits", so called, because people would often literally cut the big dollar coins up into little pie-piece-shaped bits to make small change when smaller denominations were unavailable).

    This is how the later US quarter-dollar coins came to be nicknamed "two bits", a nickname which hung on long after Spanish Milled Dollars had ceased circulating.

    Before the Civil War, it was common to still see Spanish dollars and their fractions in circulation alongside the US Mint's products, so people often did the math in eighths. And even into the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some tokens still kept up the practice, which is how we ended up with those odd denominations.
  14. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    I really enjoyed your write up and photos, willieboyd2. Nice history.
  15. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    WB2 is good at that. This thread deserved its "Featured" status, and it is refreshing to see a non-ancient item get spotlighted. Just for the sake of variety, if nothing else.

    Don't get me wrong- it should be obvious that I love ancients, but I love an eclectic variety of stuff, too.

    Hmm... I suppose that too is blatantly obvious, huh.
    ValpoBeginner likes this.
  16. TradingGreen

    TradingGreen Active Member

    I'm also a big fan of tokens of different types. I thought I would share these private issue notes from George Hupp of Winchester Virginia. 6 1/4 cents and 12 1/2 cent notes have pictures of Spanish coins while the 25 cent and 50 cent notes have pictures of the reverses of corresponding US coins of the period (1839).


    farmers bank va 1.jpg farmers bank va 2.jpg farmers bank va 3.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  17. ValpoBeginner

    ValpoBeginner Well Known Supporter

    Really enjoyed your post! I really love stories with passionate interests being followed up on.

    ( Some day soon I'm going to set aside some time and I'm going to fulfill several of my own pursuits.)
  18. Gemtastic

    Gemtastic New Member

    Fora coins on eBay had interesting tokens. I have purchased copper mine tags to make into key rings and give as gifts.
  19. Gemtastic

    Gemtastic New Member

    Meant to say Gora coins.
  20. Lynda89

    Lynda89 New Member

  21. Lynda89

    Lynda89 New Member

    Hi, Sir or Madam

    It's really awesome article and great stories i've even read about coins..

    Thank you for write and post your experience , here.

    It's a great information for us to travel while collect coins

    Warmth Regards

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