Latitude / Longitude:
40° 25′ 55.15 N, 90° 53′ 37.49 W
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Vishnu Springs is a ruined resort town located in a west-central McDonough County, Illinois river valley. Not much of the town remains today, however a few buildings still exist. The townsite is located in Tennessee Township.
Throughout the 1880s groups as large as 2,000 people gathered in a western Illinois river valley to drink natural spring water that was said to have medicinal properties capable of solving a variety of physical and psychological ailments. Some time in the 1880s, the land was named Vishnu Springs after the Hindu god Vishnu because of the supposed healing power of the water.
Most of the town is gone today, however the hotel still stands. Much of the hotel has been ruined by vandals and decay. The land was donated to Western Illinois University in 2003 as a wildlife refuge and a place for conservation and research. There are longstanding rumors that the land is haunted by the ghosts of those who once lived in the thriving town.
Near the start of the 20th century, a man named Darius Hicks took steps to start a town and health resort on the land around Vishnu Springs. He divided the land owned by his family into plots and sold them for $30 each. The centerpiece of the town was a three-story hotel named the Capitol Hotel which was built to attract people seeking the health and spiritual effects of the spring. The town featured two stores: a blacksmith shop and a restaurant. Transportation was provided by horse and buggy from the nearby town of Colchester, Illinois. Later, Hicks added parks, a fishing pond, a racetrack, and a schoolhouse.