The springs here have been used for centuries by native populations. Harbin Hot Springs and Harbin Mountain got their names from James M. Harbin, believed to have settled on this land around 1856.
By 1870, Richard Williams had built the Harbin Springs Health and Pleasure Resort on this location, featuring a hotel building built in the hillside below the springs. This hotel would burn to the ground and be replaced by two new hotels (both also burned) as the land changed hands and changed character over the next 100 years.
Whether operated as a Victorian resort, hunting lodge, boxing camp or free-form university, the hot springs have always remained at Harbin’s heart. Most of the buildings standing in 2015 were built in the early 1900s, including the remains of the Stuparich Resort that recently served as residential housing and maintenance areas.
In 1972, Harbin Hot Springs was acquired by Robert Hartley (Ishvara), and was in turn sold to Heart Consciousness Church, which now operates Harbin as a nonprofit retreat and workshop center. The property lines encompass over 5000 acres of land, and are surrounded by undeveloped private and government land.
On September 12, 2015, a devastating fire swept through the valley, destroying the majority of Harbin’s historic structures. Harbin management and residents are now in the planning process for a phased reopening and rebuilding.
A number of area residents and friends have published books about Harbin, their experiences here, or on related subjects. Here are just a few of the gems that have emerged from these mountains…
Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land
There are many other Harbins lying just beyond the veil of the present. If you’d like to travel back in time, these words, maps and photographs will help guide you on your journey. ISBN: 0-944202-01-02
Oneness in Living: Kundalini Yoga, the Spiritual Path, and Intentional Community
Harbin founder’s unified vision of Harbin, the new age, life and spirituality. ISBN:1-55643-413-8.
The Big Bang and the Harbin Experience
Sajjad Wyne’s book provides “snapshots of an alternative way of living” at the Lake County resort Harbin Hot Springs. Wyne chronicles the religious, philosophical and psychological trends that took place in the Harbin community over the last 15 years. ISBN: 0-944202-10-1