While the G.W. Lisk Company in Clifton Springs interested me because it is a manufacturing company which was established very early in the Finger Lakes and has thrived over the years, the real story of Clifton Springs comes from a Doctor named Henry Foster who was born in Norwich Vermont and came to Clifton Springs in 1849. In any direction that you look on Main Street in Clifton Springs today, Dr. Henry Foster has left his mark.
In 1849 he purchased 10 acres in Clifton Springs around the area of the sulfur springs for a price of 750 dollars. And thus he began his dream of establishing the use of sulfur water as a cure and a rejuvenator to those who would come to his facility. In 1850 he opened his first Water Cure Faculty and it was so successful that he quickly expanded with two more additions – the last being completed in 1856. In 1855, he began construction of a new brick Sanitarium building which after several rebuilds and remodels has ended up as the Clifton Springs Spa Apartments that you see along Main Street today.
What was unique about Dr. Henry Foster’s medical treatment approach was his holistic approach to treating people as he believed that the whole body required treatment and not just the part that hurt. He used the sulfur water, good food, pleasant surroundings, exercise, and religion as tools to help heal his guests. And his approach proved to be immensely successful.
Today Clifton Springs sports a modern medical hospital which was dedicated in 1972. The new complex still devotes a portion of its facility to the holistic treatment of patients.
And now you may ask why did Dr. Foster’s early visions of medical treatment happen in the Finger Lakes? And my reply is “Why not?”