Rowland Springs was the site and name of an approximately two thousand acre health resort established by John Sharpe Rowland in 1843. Rowland Springs became the most exclusive resort in Georgia at that time. Cool and refreshing waters from twenty seven springs on the property delighted the guests. It was considered as a resort for the fashionable and a retreat for the invalid, as the soothing spring waters were thought to have healing properties. The hotel complex once accommodated 600 guests, including four state governors in one season.

A veteran of the War of 1812, Roland moved to Cass County (now Bartow) from South Carolina in 1839. He purchased over thirteen hundred acres in the county, creating a large plantation called “Etowah Valley” along the Etowah River. The plantation was entirely separate from the Rowland Springs property, being some eight miles apart. In 1861, Rowland was appointed superintendent of the Western & Atlantic Railroad and held this position until his death in 1863.

The antebellum resort at Rowland Springs was revived in 1917 by Robert and Rebecca Donahoo, who entertained paying guests from all parts of Georgia and Florida up until 1925. Mrs. Donahoo was the daughter of James C. Wofford, depot agent in Cartersville for over 50 years. The Wofford home still stands today on Douglas Street and is considered the oldest structure in Cartersville. In 1925, the Donahoo’s moved to Miami, Florida, returning in 1938, but did not again operate a resort hotel in their large, three story home. The imposing Donahoo house along with most of the resort complex was destroyed by a tornado in 1948. The location of the resort was north of GA Highway 20 at the intersection of Rowland Springs Road. For additional information, refer to the history of “Etowah Valley”.

Source: The Herald -Tribune, October 2, 1975, “Aunt Beck Donahoo Recalls Old Hotel”; History of Bartow County, Georgia, Formerly Cass by Lucy Josephine Cunyus.

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