After all of the snow and cold that we had in the Finger Lakes this winter, the sun is slowly warming up the ground and melting the ice and snow. The warm-up has been slow and gradual and for that we are thankful as we have not had any serious flooding associated with this year’s spring. The streams and brooks around Canandaigua are full of water as well as pools of water standing in the fields, but soon the warming temperatures and winds will begin the drying-out process.
In the eighteen forty nine, Henry Foster came to Clifton Springs looking for a place to establish his water cure facility. In September 13, 1850, his first water cure facility was open for business and offered water treatment programs to anyone who had the money to travel to Clifton Springs and stay at the spa for $5 to $8 per week for room, board, and medical care. The brick Clifton Springs Sanitarium was built in 1896 and is used as an apartment building today. The sulfur springs are still running but the old spa water medical treatment programs have been replaced by a modern hospital which sits in back of the Clifton Springs Sanitarium building.
Even though Canandaigua Lake remains mostly frozen over, the outlet is handling all of the run-off without overflowing its banks. Water is gushing out of the old mill race at Littleville, the name of a grist mill which once stood at this site near Shortsville. At the end of April, those foolish enough to challenge the rapids at Littleville will enter the Shortsville White Water Derby.
Just across the road, the water starts to calm down a bit as it continues its journey onto Shortsville, Manchester, Clifton Springs, and eventually ends up in the Eire Canal at Lyons, NY. There is something soothing about flowing water, and Dr. Henry Foster not only pioneered in the use of water cures but practiced holistic treatment of the entire body.