A Brattleboro Words Trail Site

The Wesselhoeft Water Cure: Downtown Brattleboro

Opened in 1852 under the direction of C.W. Grau, the Water Cure in downtown Brattleboro was visited by many notable people of the time,

The site of Dr. Wesselhoeft’s Water Cure, across the street from what is now 118 Elliot.

who came to escape the rapidly industrializing world. This site is one of 40 historic places that will be Researched and made a part of the Brattleboro Words Trail.

Previously, Brattleboro Area Middle School students under the tutelage of teacher Joe Rivers made a podcast about the Wesselhoeft Water Cure for the Brattleboro Historical Society’s ‘This Week in Brattleboro History’

Student work, such as the BHS podcasts, will be incorporated into professionally produced audio for the Brattleboro Words Trail.


The Story of the Water Cure

1850 – 1860

After the death of Wesselhoeft and the closing of his water-cure, there were attempts made by others to continue water treatments.  A wealthy New Yorker, Bayard Clark, who had regained his health under the treatment by Wesselhoeft, in an effort to help William Klinge, who had been superintendent of Wesselhoeft’s bathing department, bought a property opposite the water cure and allowed Mr. Klinge to run it for the accommodation of patients unable to get rooms at the Wesselhoeft place.

Klinge borrowed money from Mr. Clark so he could open a small water cure and Dr. Grau was admitted to partnership. The place opened in July 1852 and in a brief time the house was full of patients.  In order to be more successful, the old house was moved away and a new one was built and opened in May of 1853. This was named the Lawrence Water-Cure in honor of Mrs. Clark’s family.

A twenty page prospectus of the Lawrence Water-Cure was published in May 1853, signed by C.W. Grau, physician, and William Klinge, superintendent.

The Lawrence Water-Cure was three stories high, built in imitation of a fashionable country residence of the time, and could accommodate sixty six patients.  There was an adjoining building for boarders accompanying patients and families with children. This held twenty four more persons. There were two large sitting rooms, one dining and ball room fifty by twenty five feet, covered veranda five hundred and sixteen feet long by seven feet wide, a promenade inside the house of one hundred feet by six feet, warmed in cold weather, a billiard and reading rooms and a bowling saloon.  The house was well carpeted to reduce noise. There was a bathhouse consisting of six rooms. Pure spring water was conducted through wood pipes. There were falling showers of various sizes and heights, fed by two springs under the main buildings.

The place prospered for three years.  Then changes began to take place. There were financing difficulties and partnerships struggled to stay afloat.  By 1858 financier Bayard Clark, Supt. William Klinge and Dr. Grau were no longer associated with the Lawrence Water Cure.  A Prussian named Emil Apfelbaum became supt. of the Lawrence Water Cure in 1857.

1860 – 1880

Coming soon.

1880 – 1900

Coming soon.

On The Map

The Water Cure at 118 Elliot Street, Downtown Brattleboro

The Water Cure at 118 Elliot Street

About the Research sites

The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Research Teams – classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours.

Research Team Leader

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