The Spa: A Historical and Florida Heritage Landmark and Safety Harbor Gem
The first claim to the land you are standing on, including the natural mineral springs below, was made in 1843. Twelve years later, in 1855, Colonel William Bailey took ownership, a purchase changing the course of Safety Harbor’s history. The fame of the springs’ healing properties increased, with visitors arriving by ferry, car and train, as Bailey's son in law, James Felix Tucker, expanded marketing for the springs as a tourist attraction, adding a pavilion, swimming pool, and water bottling operation. His pamphlets boasted the springs were the original Fountain of Perpetual Youth, yielding miracle cures. Tucker died in 1913, but his wife Virginia continued the family business until her death in 1931, rebuilding a state-of-the-art sanatorium and hotel in the mid 1920’s. With the Great Depression the economy fell apart, and by the mid-1930s, the springs and facilities reverted to the State of Florida. The property changed hands through the years until 1945, when Dr. Salem Baranoff purchased the property. In 1964, the Safety Harbor Spa was designated a historical landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and in 1997 it became a Florida Heritage Landmark.