1 West Pocahontas Road
Highland, IL
Phone: 618-675-2655

Wednesday - Saturday
5 pm - 9 pm

Sunday
11 am - 8 pm

Cash and/or Check are still the only methods of payment accepted in the dining room.

The History of Diamond Mineral Springs

ANTON J. KRAFT is the proprietor of the Diamond Mineral Springs and Health Summer Resort. The great state of Illinois has a generous quota of parks, resorts, and famous beauty spots, and of these the Diamond Mineral Springs, of Grant Fork, in the eastern part of Madison county is indeed a gem of Nature's own unsurpassable creation. On this popular health resort of southern Illinois she has poured one and all the various endow­ments with which she crowns the beauty of her especial garden spots. Its forty acres abound in graceful trees," charming and un­expected paths that wind through the cool groves, and by the playing fountains, flower ­bordered retreats, rustic nooks, swings and on down to the little lake set so perfectly amid these beautiful surroundings. Pleasure and health are here ideally combined. On the lake there is boating. One may fish or swim, as fancy dictates. The springs themselves are among the finest mineral springs in the state affording especial relief from rheumatism, stomach trouble, and skin diseases. The water is strongly charged with bi-carbonate of soda, chloride of sodium, magnesia, iron and lime, minerals whose curative properties are well known to the medical profession as well as to the thousands they have helped.

A fine large hostelry makes it possible for hundreds of pleasure and health-seeking people to enjoy the beauty spot in luxurious comfort. The Hotel Windsor contains thirty rooms, large and airy rooms with a wide view of the surrounding country, hot and cold mineral baths. There is also a large pavilion, which furnishes ample room for dancing, billiards and other amusements.

By no means least of the hotel's attractions is the genial personality and whole souled cordiality of the proprietor, Anton J. Kraft, whose care for the comfort and pleasure of the guests is the actuating motive of the place. Nothing is too small for him to notice, no want too difficult for him to gratify. And the frank pleasure he takes in bringing his service to perfection is one of the most delightful features of the Windsor. The activities of Anton J. Kraft has been so closely and inter­estedly associated with the stirring scenes and changes that mark the history of Madison county that no record of the same would ap­proximate completeness without ample mention of his career.

Anton J. Kraft was born in Saint Louis in 1841, the son of Anton and Eva (Richart) Kraft. His father was a native born German, who immigrated at an early day to the land of opportunity across the Atlantic and settling in Saint Louis, there married. By trade he was a cabinet-maker, and he worked in Saint Louis for the ensuing twenty years. The Kraft family came to consist of five children, three sons and two daughters as follows: - Christina, Theresa, Edward, George and Anton J., the latter the subject of this sketch. The children were all born and educated in Saint Louis. In 1855 Mr. Kraft moved his family to Leef township, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres, located a mile and a quarter from Saline. At that time there were plenty of wild animals, and wild game, prairie chick­ens, turkeys, and ducks abounding in the coun­try and inviting the huntsman's art. These advantages were naturally accompanied by the disadvantages and hardships of the pioneer's life, and Mr. and Mrs. Kraft bought prosperity with the coin of faithful industry. The pio­neer program of working early and late began to bring its rewards, and forty acres were added to the original homestead. The children, hav­ing their parents' qualities of sturdy German perseverance, worked with them. Farm pro­ducts in those days found no ready market nearer than Saint Louis, and Anton J. re­members three distinct trips to that city with an ox team and loads of apples. The parents spent the remainder of their lives on the farm, the mother passing to the Great Beyond in 1867, and the father following her in 1868.

While Anton was still at home Fort Sumter was fired on, and the war which was to tear the heart of the nation was begun. When he was only nineteen he volunteered at Saint Louis, and was enlisted June 8, 1863, in the Second Missouri Light Artillery. He partic­ipated in the following engagements: The bat­tle at Little Missouri River; Prairie De Land; Mark's Mill, April 25, 1864; at which time he was one of many to be taken prisoner. He was doing service under General Steele. He had been detailed with eleven hundred men to guard a wagon train that was going to Pine Bluff for provisions. There were two hun­dred and twenty-five wagons, six mules to each wagon and the wagons were filled with contraband negroes, escaping to join the Union army. When seventy miles from Steele's army, they were surrounded by thirteen thou­sand men, under Kirby Smith, and the white flag of surrender had to be raised, since the utter uselessness of resistance was apparent. The surrender was promptly followed by a scene of horror, bloodshed and slaughter, the Rebels raising the wagon curtains and shoot­ing the negroes like rats, especially the young negro men. For three hours the Union sol­diers, unable to render any assistance, were obliged to witness the slaughter of the un­armed defenseless creatures, for whose free­dom they themselves were willing to suffer the fortunes of war. At the close of the war An­ton J. Kraft received his honorable discharge, and was mustered out of the service June 8, 1865.

Two years afterward, in 1867, he married Miss Magdalina Mutcher, the daughter of Mrs. M. Mutcher, a widow, and the young couple commenced their wedded life on a farm in Leef township which he had purchased. Two children were the issue of this union, both dying in infancy, and the young mother herself passed on at the age of nineteen.

In 1870 he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Gross. She was born in New York. in 1850, of German lineage, Nicholas and Anna (Pautler) Gross, being her parents. For twelve years Mr. and Mrs. Kraft lived on the farm, when he sold the farm and moved to Grant Fork. They became the parents of ten chil­dren, four sons and six daughters. Maggie married Dr. John Rosenberger, and they make their home in California, and are the parents of two children, Heloise and Jack Da Costa. Emma K. married Adolph Mossiman, a plumber by trade, and resides in Highland. Pearl K. became a successful trained nurse and makes her home in California with her sis­ter. Anna married a John Zimmerman, a carpenter and lives in Saint Louis. They have two children, Lorine and Opal. Mabel is a stenographer in St. Louis. Hazel is the only daughter to remain at home, and she assists in the home making, and is one of the popular and pretty girls of Grant Fork. Nicholas married Miss Marie Edwards of Bloomington, Illinois, and has his residence in Saint Louis, where he is the proprietor of the Hotel Gran­ville. Johnnie was united in marriage to Miss Madaline Monteverde, and they live in Mem­phis, Tennessee, where he owns and runs the Kraftie Bakery. Alvin and Arthur are the proprietors of the Y. M. C. A. restaurant in East Saint Louis. By this record it will be seen that Mr. Kraft's children are proving themselves possessed of the same high quali­ties as their father, and capable of following in his footsteps and filling position of trust and industry in this great and busy world.

In 1891 Mr. Kraft purchased the grounds which he has since improved, adding to Na­ture's generous endowments the beauty of care­ful planting and good taste in improvements, on which he has spared no expense. The busy private life of Mr. Kraft has in no way in­terfered with his service to the community in which he has made his home. and he has Drought to public office the same scrupulous devotion to duty that he has manifested in his private affairs, and he has held the following offices with honor to himself and to the office. He was assessor for five years, constable for eight years, tax collector for one year, post­master for four years, and justice of the peace for eight years making in all twenty-six years of active interest in the welfare of the community.

Looking back over life, Mr. and Mrs. Kraft may well take a pardonable degree of pride at the events that have made the name of Kraft synonymous with all that is best in public and private life.