New plans, old memories

A historic Stone County tourist destination is getting revamped for a second chance this year.

The Ramsey Springs Hotel site and springs are currently state-owned, but Mississippi State Rep. Casey Eure bought 17 adjacent acres, which includes the original cabins and land.

“When I saw that property, I just fell in love with it,” Eure said. “I went and looked at it, and I bought it two weeks later.”

So far, Eure has renovated all five of the original Ramsey Springs Hotel rental cabins and plans for a 14-pad RV park are under way.

“I am building my parking pads large enough to accommodate an RV and a boat trailer,” Eure said.

Eure said he sees a lot of potential for good business with the new racetrack, Outlaw Speedway, Red Creek Off-road ATV park, and the Ramsey Springs General Store minutes away.

“I just felt like it appealed to a lot of people, whether it is for a getaway for the weekend or you’re coming up there to deer hunt,” Eure said.

Eure bought the property in December 2020 with his business partner, the Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindall.

The planned upgrades are up to a $500,000 investment, he said. The current renovations are scheduled to be completed later this year. The planned name for the site is Ramsey Springs Landing.

The cabins will be available to rent at weekend, weekly, and monthly rates. The property will employ at least one full-time grounds keeper and possibly more part-time positions as the property grows.

Eure said he is open to expanding in the future, depending on the project’s success.

And Eure expects it to be successful. He thinks it is a prime location and priced competitively to other RV parks on the Gulf Coast.

“It’s away from the busy, crazy city life,” Eure said. “(And) you’re 25 minutes to the Beau Rivage. If you go rent a spot on the beach, it might cost you $1,400 a month. You can rent a spot from me for $450 a month.”

Eure manages multiple residential and commercial properties, but the Ramsey Springs site felt special.

“It’s beautiful, and I read up on some of the history of it,” Eure said.

Eure said he hopes his development will bring back some of the long-gone excitement about visiting Ramsey Springs Hotel.

From 1920 until the 1940s, the three-story hotel housed visitors from all over the country who traveled for vacations and to immerse themselves in the nearby springs’ “healing waters.”

“It was a very popular place,” he said. “Everybody I talk to is connected or has a memory of it.”

For Ramsey Springs resident Mary Bond, many of her life milestones were connected to the Hotel.

“It was a really good time to be here,” Bond said, remembering the hotel’s heyday. “There were lots of people there on the weekends with people from the coast and everywhere else.”

She remembers the inside of the hotel’s foyer with a round seating area built out of an old longleaf pine trunk with tufted red seats on top.

Bond’s parents came to the Springs to swim and picnic every summer.

“Some would stay weeks, some would stay months, just to drink the water,” Bond said. “It was the place to be.”

She still remembers learning to swim and the shock of the spring-fed pool water.

“The water was ice cold,” Bond said.

Not just a resort area, Bond said she witnessed several people use the pool as a baptistry.

It was also where her future husband courted her. When she wed on June 10, 1955, the couple rented one of the five cabins until November.

The couple spent their first wedded months there, enjoying the peace and home-cooked meals from the hotel staff.

Bond said she wished she had photos to document their time there.

That was before everyone had a camera, she says.

But her daughter, artist Melissa Ladner, remedied the regret and gifted her a framed drawing of her honeymoon cabin. The rendering still hangs in her home, which is still in the Ramsey Springs area.

The couple also rented the same cabin for their fifth wedding anniversary. The Bonds continued to take their children to the hotel for visits and swimming lessons.

No matter how popular the hotel had been for so many, nothing lasts forever.

“A lot of people who went there and remember it are gone,” Bond said.

The hotel’s prominence faded after World War II. The original proprietors died. The welcoming resort’s frame sagged with the loss of people who made it famous. It was torn down in 1961.

“It was part of your life, your history, and your memories,” Bond said.

Bond said she is excited about the site being renovated this year. She hopes a new generation will get the chance to stay there.

“It was the most wonderful time,” Bond said.