George Washington's Bathtub – Berkeley Springs, West Virginia - Atlas Obscura

George Washington's Bathtub

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Hot Springs presents to you "the only outdoor monument to presidential bathing." 


Tapping into what is presumably a small, yet apparently existent focal point of historical interest, Berkeley Springs State Park demonstrates the tools used back before 1784 to create the tub from which our founding father would presumably use to rub-a-dub-dub.

When George Washington was a strapping lad of 16, he was a surveyor’s assistant that frequently visited the West Virginian warm springs (a constant 72 degrees) for a relaxing bathing experience. Eventually he purchased property in town, (at that time known under the more obvious moniker of “Bath”) and continued to use the springs as a favorite place to freshen up. Berkeley Springs remained, throughout his lifetime, a favored spot for the president to dine, relax, and of course, bathe. 

Before being completely enclosed by the bathhouses in the 1780s, the more primitive baths consisted of hollowed-out trenches that filled with fresh spring water, and were lined with sand and stones. For privacy, brush was woven into natural screens, and designated times for male or female bathers were instated. 

Now a favorite spot for hikers to stop and pose for a photo or even give their feet a little soak, the bathtub attracts much attention from tourists and locals alike. While the stone structure is not the actual bath in which Ol’ Georgie scrubbed behind the ears, it is a modern replica built to represent those that were lost through time. The springs bubbling up into the tub however, are of course one and the same.

An annual event celebrating George Washington’s Bathtub is held in mid-March on the weekend nearest March 18, anniversary of Washington’s first visit in 1748.

Know Before You Go

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