CARLSBAD — One of the great comeback stories of recent times involves immigrant Ludvik Grigoras and how, in 1994, he revitalized the legendary Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa after it had been dry for more than 60 years.
The spring was discovered in 1883 by Capt. John Frazier when he set out to drill a well for his farm. After finding that the water cured a chronic stomach ailment, Frazier had it tested and found that it had properties similar those at a spa resort in Karlsbad, Bohemia. In tribute, the name of Frazier’s Crossing was changed to Carlsbad, Calif.
The well flourished until the Great Depression when maintenance costs forced it to close. In 1955, it was acquired by Kay and “Chris” Christiansen.
The Christiansens wanted to restore the flow of the mineral springs, which was deep below the ground, but couldn’t find anyone with the know-how.
Kay Christiansen met Grigoras in 1991 when he was in town to celebrate the culmination of his efforts to create a sister city relationship between Carlsbad, Calif. and his birthplace of Karlovy Vary, Bohemia (previously named Karlsbad). She was impressed with his passion, and technical background, and was persuasive in enlisting his assistance.
“She told me that as a little girl she remembered many people with health problems who benefitted from the water,” he recalled. “She said that once she passed away, the water would be forgotten forever. She thought I was sent from God. It was her persistence that I got involved.”
Grigoras and his wife, Veronica, purchased the property and began working on the restoration in March 1993. What they thought would only take three months took almost two years.
“We were able to do it thanks to talking to several companies as well as the University of Texas, the University of Illinois, and the University of Louisiana,” he said. “It was a combination of all their ideas that enabled me to develop a plan that worked.”
Grigoras remembers the excitement when he discovered the water, and sampled it for the first time, in late 1994.
It wasn’t until after securing a license and FDA approval that he began marketing the water in June 1996.
Today, it is available via delivery or self-service. A spa using the water also operates on the property.
Grigoras explained that the spring is estimated to be 9,500 years old, and lies 1,700 feet below the surface of the earth in an underground storage area called an aquafir in the Cleveland National Forest.
When it rains, the water drains deep beneath the mountain and empties 1,700 to 2,000 feet deep into the ocean.
“The water is really sterile,” he said. “It’s naturally high alkaline and completely pure with no bacteria or pollutants.”
Grigoras reports that the water has beneficial effects on migraine headaches, acid reflux, heartburn, the digestive system, skin problems such as psoriasis and cysts, and joint and back problems.
“The water lubricates the joints and hydrates the body making the skin and hair soft and smooth,” he said.
“You usually see a difference in a couple of weeks.”
Fans include designer Fred Segal, Olympian Catherine Garceau and actress Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”) who, without Grigoras’ knowledge, appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last December touting the therapeutic benefits of his water.
Other customers, like David Fischer, travel from as far away as Las Vegas.
“I had a stomach ulcer and ever since I started drinking the water, it seems to be resolved,” he said. “I make regular trips, probably every four to six weeks, to get refills.”
Shelly Byrd is a health practitioner who believes the body has the ability to heal itself with the proper nutrients.
She travels from Rancho Santa Margarita every two to three months to load up her Toyota Rav 4 with 25 bottles of water.
“That’s the maximum I can fit into my car,” she said. “In my work, I look how cells are functioning. Sometimes there is oxidated stress on them, and the purity of this particular water helps to cleanse the cells and make nutrients more available to the body.”
For more information, call Carlsbad Alkaline Water and Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa at (760) 434-1887 or visit carlsbadmineralspa.com.