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 now standing were built in the early 1900s, including the remains of the Stuparich Resort that now serves 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.