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Mountain Valley Spring Water Company History - Mountain Valley Spring Water
(618) 242-4963 mountainvalley@mvn.net

History of the Mountain Valley Spring Water Company

In 1871, pharmacist Peter E. Greene and his brother, John Greene, were the first to sell Mountain Valley Spring Water, which was then known in the Hot Springs area as “Lockett’s Spring Water” because of its association with Benjamin Lockett and his son, Enoch. The brothers renamed the water Mountain Valley after a small community nearby. They built the two-story Mountain Valley Resort Hotel. In 1880, the original building burned down and was replaced by a larger structure. In 1883, the Mountain Valley Water Company was officially formed, with Zeb Ward, G. G. Latta, Samuel Fordyce, and Samuel Stitt House as principal investors and company officers with Peter Greene remaining as local manager.

By 1894, the water’s popularity and association with the health spa boom in Hot Springs, Arkansas allowed the company to expand its distribution to the east coast, starting with Philadelphia. Ownership of the spring was transferred in 1902, when August Schlafly of St. Louis, Missouri, already a major stockholder in the company, and his family became sole owners. By 1908, franchise offices had followed in Chicago, Illinois, and New York City. An apocryphal tale holds that two strangers, traveling home to New York from Hot Springs by train, were in the dining car, and each produced a bottle of Mountain Valley for his respective table. This coincidence led to much conversation and then an agreement to form a fifty-fifty partnership for a Mountain Valley Water Company franchise in New York. Upon exchanging business cards, media mogul William Randolph Hearst discovered that his new partner was the well-known gambler Richard Canfield, a man against whom his newspapers were conducting a fierce campaign.

The Visitor Center and Museum, after renovations, as it looks today.

By the 1920s, Mountain Valley Water was being served in the United States Senate, and in 1928, distribution began in California, making Mountain Valley the first bottled water to be available coast to coast. In 1924, Schlafly purchased the DeSoto Springs Mineral Water Company, located at 150 Central Avenue in Hot Springs. The two-story, Classical Revival brick building was built specifically to house a mineral water depot. A third level was added in 1921 to house a Japanese-themed dance hall, with accommodation for a live band. The building remained the DeSoto Spring Water Depot and DeSoto Dance Hall until 1936, when Mountain Valley Water Company made the building its national headquarters and visitor center.

In 1966, the Schlaflys sold the company to a group of distributors under the leadership of John G. Scott. The company’s headquarters were moved to Paramus, New Jersey, and the historic Mountain Valley building was closed. In April 1987, Sammons Enterprises of Dallas, Texas, purchased the company and returned administrative operations to Hot Springs. Sammons sold the company in April 2004 to the current private ownership.

About The Source And Land

THIS WATER WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME. In a remote valley of Ouachita (WASH-ah-taw), Mountains, U.S.A. on 2,000 acres of protected forest sits a spring as old as our great land. The majestic water that flows from it has been slowly filtering into granite-based aquifers for 3,500-years. The refreshing taste and purifying power of that water comes from the rich, unique blend of minerals that it has flowed through. Every single drop is worth the wait. Not a lot of people have heard of the Ouachitas. Even fewer can pronounce them, but we don’t we mind. It makes it easier to keep this little patch of America raw, wild, and untouched, and our sacred source, protected.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND AND IT DEMANDS OUR RESPECT. We’ve protected this wild and stunning land, and the sacred source that flows beneath it, since we discovered it in 1871. And we will never stop. The Mountain Valley Spring Water was the first spring water to be delivered coast to coast. And we’ve dedicated our lives to preserving it, to keep it flowing, and ensuring all of our access to its clean pure goodness. Our humble respect and gratitude to this majestic place is immeasurable. We are dedicated to every pristine tree, rock, and flower that grows here, and the precious wildlife that inhabits it.

History of the Mountain Valley Spring Water Company

In 1871, pharmacist Peter E. Greene and his brother, John Greene, were the first to sell Mountain Valley Spring Water, which was then known in the Hot Springs area as “Lockett’s Spring Water” because of its association with Benjamin Lockett and his son, Enoch. The brothers renamed the water Mountain Valley after a small community nearby. They built the two-story Mountain Valley Resort Hotel. In 1880, the original building burned down and was replaced by a larger structure. In 1883, the Mountain Valley Water Company was officially formed, with Zeb Ward, G. G. Latta, Samuel Fordyce, and Samuel Stitt House as principal investors and company officers with Peter Greene remaining as local manager.

By 1894, the water’s popularity and association with the health spa boom in Hot Springs, Arkansas allowed the company to expand its distribution to the east coast, starting with Philadelphia. Ownership of the spring was transferred in 1902, when August Schlafly of St. Louis, Missouri, already a major stockholder in the company, and his family became sole owners. By 1908, franchise offices had followed in Chicago, Illinois, and New York City. An apocryphal tale holds that two strangers, traveling home to New York from Hot Springs by train, were in the dining car, and each produced a bottle of Mountain Valley for his respective table. This coincidence led to much conversation and then an agreement to form a fifty-fifty partnership for a Mountain Valley Water Company franchise in New York. Upon exchanging business cards, media mogul William Randolph Hearst discovered that his new partner was the well-known gambler Richard Canfield, a man against whom his newspapers were conducting a fierce campaign.

The Visitor Center and Museum, after renovations, as it looks today.

By the 1920s, Mountain Valley Water was being served in the United States Senate, and in 1928, distribution began in California, making Mountain Valley the first bottled water to be available coast to coast. In 1924, Schlafly purchased the DeSoto Springs Mineral Water Company, located at 150 Central Avenue in Hot Springs. The two-story, Classical Revival brick building was built specifically to house a mineral water depot. A third level was added in 1921 to house a Japanese-themed dance hall, with accommodation for a live band. The building remained the DeSoto Spring Water Depot and DeSoto Dance Hall until 1936, when Mountain Valley Water Company made the building its national headquarters and visitor center.

In 1966, the Schlaflys sold the company to a group of distributors under the leadership of John G. Scott. The company’s headquarters were moved to Paramus, New Jersey, and the historic Mountain Valley building was closed. In April 1987, Sammons Enterprises of Dallas, Texas, purchased the company and returned administrative operations to Hot Springs. Sammons sold the company in April 2004 to the current private ownership.

About The Source And Land

THIS WATER WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME. In a remote valley of Ouachita (WASH-ah-taw), Mountains, U.S.A. on 2,000 acres of protected forest sits a spring as old as our great land. The majestic water that flows from it has been slowly filtering into granite-based aquifers for 3,500-years. The refreshing taste and purifying power of that water comes from the rich, unique blend of minerals that it has flowed through. Every single drop is worth the wait. Not a lot of people have heard of the Ouachitas. Even fewer can pronounce them, but we don’t we mind. It makes it easier to keep this little patch of America raw, wild, and untouched, and our sacred source, protected.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND AND IT DEMANDS OUR RESPECT. We’ve protected this wild and stunning land, and the sacred source that flows beneath it, since we discovered it in 1871. And we will never stop. The Mountain Valley Spring Water was the first spring water to be delivered coast to coast. And we’ve dedicated our lives to preserving it, to keep it flowing, and ensuring all of our access to its clean pure goodness. Our humble respect and gratitude to this majestic place is immeasurable. We are dedicated to every pristine tree, rock, and flower that grows here, and the precious wildlife that inhabits it.