In 1866 oil fever saw the drilling for oil in the Sparta area, but instead of finding oil, these oil companies tapped into the artesian mineral waters that lay deep below Sparta. One such well was observed by the editor of the Sparta Herald who described the beauties and purity of the water and called for the city of Sparta to drill its own well to tap into this "exquisite luxury". The next year the city raised $800 for the drilling of its own artesian well. Water was reached at a depth of 315 feet. The medicinal qualities of the water were soon discovered by various citizens, who being affected with chronic diseases, were cured by drinking from the spring.
These cures resulted in causing an analysis of the water, by which Sparta was found to be in possession of a chalybeate Sulphur spring, the medicinal qualities of which rival those of the best known springs in the world. It was discovered that the water was composed of various minerals, principally carbonate of iron, with a fair percentage of carbonate of magnesia and sulphate of soda. The carbonate of iron was considered a fine tonic, as it helps digestion and reddens the blood globules, and persons partaking of this water as a treatment for general diseases were greatly benefited.
Sparta become somewhat famous as a health resort, people coming from long distances to drink the waters and take treatments at the Turkish bath establishments. Professor Hirsh writes of Sparta mineral spring: "This is certainly an unusually useful spring, similar to the celebrated springs of Ems, Germany, which, however, contain more soda compounds and less iron than this spring." Here rheumatism is speedily cured. The effect upon paralysis has been wonderful, many cases having been entirely cured. Among the diseases successfully treated, are Bright's disease of the kidneys, liver complaint, dyspepsia and lumbago.