Our History: 150 years of Mountain Valley Spring Water — and counting

Mountain Valley didn’t become the country’s oldest and most award-winning bottled water brand overnight. Our purely sourced, naturally mineralized spring water has delighted drinkers for more than 150 years. From moguls to mob bosses, The Sultan of Swat to The King of Rock, follow us down Mountain Valley memory lane and take a swig of history.

1871: Mountain Valley Springs to Life

Pharmacist Peter Greene and his brother John invested in a mineral spring in The Ouachita Mountains of Hot Springs, Arkansas. They renamed the spring after a nearby township, bottling its waters for distribution throughout the region and, eventually, across the country. And so, Mountain Valley Spring Water sprang to life.


Soon after buying the property and giving it its now-famous Mountain Valley name, the Greene brothers built an onsite hotel where guests could bathe in the spring and imbibe its refreshing, mineral-rich waters. The resort proved popular, drawing guests from as far away as Austria and Germany.


The Mountain Valley Water Company officially formed, with Zeb Ward, G.G. Latta, Samuel Fordyce and Samuel Stitt as principal investors and company officers. Peter Greene remained as local manager. The 1883 Hot Springs City Directory listed Mountain Valley as one of 12 incorporated companies in the city.

Postcards From a Hot Springs Paradise:

In the early 1900s, the Mountain Valley Hotel in Arkansas’s Hot Springs National Park was the place to be. This stunning, three-story property with its lush gardens and onsite spring — fed by the same pure, crisp waters we still bottle to this day — beckoned wellness seekers from around the world.

1908: Strangers on a Train: Two Moguls Bet Big on Mountain Valley

On a train from Hot Springs, Arkansas to New York City in 1908, two strangers struck an unlikely partnership over bottles of Mountain Valley Spring Water. Hear this story directly from the source, our bottle from that very year.

1910s: Fuel for a Sultan

Before Major League Baseball sent its players to Florida and Arizona for spring training, it sent them to Hot Springs. The city served as the preseason home for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Nationals, Chicago White Stockings and Boston Red Sox in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Perhaps the most famous ball player to ever swing a bat in our hometown: The Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat is said to have hit his first-ever 500-foot home run in Hot Springs’ Whittington Park. It proved to be the start of a historic career for The Babe. We like to think, maybe there was something in the water.

1920: Mountain Valley Ginger Ale Kept the 1920s Roaring

In The Roaring Twenties, as Prohibition settled in and bootleggers did all they could to get around it, a new nonalcoholic beverage gained popularity: pale and dry ginger ale. Bartenders needed a powerful soda that could match the potency of illicit moonshine, and beverage companies throughout the country set out to fill that demand — including Mountain Valley. Green, 12-ounce bottles of Mountain Valley “pale dry ginger ale” from 1920 are on display in our Hot Springs Visitors Center.

1920s: (Accidentally) Abetting Al Capone

Our Hot Springs home has attracted some notorious visitors, including the infamous Al Capone. The mobster lived part-time in suite 443 of The Arlington Resort Hotel. The Fort Smith Times Record reported Capone’s suite housed a secret passage to the Ohio Club, Arkansas’s oldest bar. Capone would strike moonshine deals at the club, then
sneak his illegal booze back to Chicago in bottles labeled “Mountain Valley Water.” 

1922: Mountain Valley 1920s Advertising Pamphlet

In the early 20th century, pamphlets like this one from 1922 printed by a Cleveland distributor were mailed or handed out to potential customers.


Mountain Valley took over the DeSoto Springs Mineral Water Co. and its Classic Revival space on Central Avenue in downtown Hot
Springs. The two-story brick building was erected in 1910 specifically to house a mineral-water depot. In 1921, a third level was added to house a dance hall with space for live music. The building remained the DeSoto Spring Water Depot and DeSoto Dance Hall until 1936, when Mountain Valley made the building its national headquarters and visitor center.


The Senate and the White House received their first
shipments of Mountain Valley.


Distribution began in California, making Mountain Valley the first bottled water to be available coast to coast across the U.S.

Delivering from The Source since 1871

It took much more than leg work to make Mountain Valley Spring Water the first bottled water to be delivered coast to coast in the U.S. It took mule work and wagon work and 55-gallon drums hauled in the beds of Ford Model Ts.


Lord Beaverbrook and the Duchess of Talleyrand had bottles of Mountain Valley shipped to England and France.

1940s: Mountain Valley 1940s Sales Brochure

In the 1940s, Mountain Valley Spring
Water was 70 years young. Much has changed since then, but according to this sales brochure from the era, some things haven’t. Our purely sourced Ouachita Mountain spring water remains mineral rich and can still be delivered to your doorstep — home or office. We still proudly call Hot Springs, Arkansas home, and our claims of “delicious to the taste” are now backed up by some serious awards (19, to be exact). Mountain Valley Spring Water has come a long way in our 150 years, but the water at the heart of our business is as naturally refreshing as ever.


The U.S. War Production Board declared Mountain Valley "in the public health interest" and granted 100% of needed packaging materials during World War II.

1950s: 1950s era Mountain Valley Spring Water advertisement

Metal signs such as this vintage Mountain Valley Spring Water advertisement were popular in the early to mid 1900s, appearing across the country at roadside gas stations and neighborhood markets.

1958: “I like Ike” — Ike likes me, too

In this episode of “Talking Bottles,” our 1958 bottle gets presidential, sharing tales of its time in the White House where it hydrated a five-star general and leader of the free world.

1960s: Mountain Valley an Odds-On Favorite at Oaklawn

The Mountain Valley Handicap, later known as the Mountain Valley Stakes, was a longstanding annual tradition at Oaklawn, one of the premiere thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, located in our hometown of Hot Springs, Arkansas. At six furlongs — just under a mile — the horse race took about 1 minute, 10 seconds most years.

Hydrating Boxing Legends: The Mountain Valley Knockout

Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney — when we at Mountain Valley learned our purely sourced spring water was used to fuel some of boxing’s biggest names, well, we were knocked out. Another boxing icon we kept hydrated: the legendary world heavyweight champion Joe Louis. As Louis’s trainer once wrote, “Because most water varies not only from city to
city but even from the same