Before Mountain Valley became Mountain Valley, it was lush acreage north of Hot Springs, Arkansas on the edge of what is now the Ouachita National Forest.
The area and its waters have long proven lively.
Indigenous settlers, including the historic Natchitoches, have lived in the region for thousands of years, drawn to its abundant and fresh waters, and the healing powers of its mineral springs. In 1853, Enoch Lockett and his father brought the springs’ powers to the public, bottling its water as “Lockett’s Spring Water,” a small brand that proved popular among locals. The water’s fans included pharmacist Peter Greene and his brother John. In 1871, the siblings took over the Locketts’ business, changing its name to match that of the nearby township.
In 1871, Mountain Valley Spring Water was born.
As with so many before them, the Greenes believed this water could cure what ails us. That it could ease arthritis symptoms, promote wellness, and serve as treatment for all manner of chronic illnesses.
The brothers received some confirmation of their theories in 1872 when an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, “There are no springs known of superior value, or that can compare with the Hot Springs of Arkansas as adjuncts in the treatment of chronic diseases.”
The Greenes built the Mountain Valley Resort Hotel, where guests could bathe in the springs while also imbibing the water from Mountain Valley’s signature green-glass bottles. In its early years, the property drew visitors from as far away as Austria and Germany. An 1879 article in the Hot Springs Illustrated Monthly claimed Mountain Valley Spring Water had fans from Maine to Texas, noting: “The shipment of this water to all parts of the country in barrels and bottles has become quite the business.”
While the article continued to tout the water’s curative benefits—for everything from dyspepsia to torpid liver—it also noted a new use for it, “as high-quality table water.”
Drinking water purely for the flavor of it?
In the 1870s it felt revolutionary. One hundred fifty years later—we get it. And people far beyond Maine and Texas do, too.