The ancient use of the waters of the Molinar Spa is unknown. However, at the dawn of the eighteenth century already appears documented an ancient place, known as “Fumala”, located a short distance from where the waters flowed. Toponym possibly related to the vapors emanating from the river waters in the place.
The chroniclers of the nineteenth century echo the discovery of the thermal springs at the end of the previous century.
Maximino Núñez, a medical director of the spa of Molinar, writes in his report on the acid-carbonic hot springs without iron of Molinar de Carranza, published in 1872: “… the effects of these waters were noted by a French abbe , who, as a result of political events in his country, came to stay in the village of Bollain, about two kilometers from the place where the waters flow, and excited by the frequency with which the cattle returned to the valley, that came to take the salts that deposited the waters to the river bank; preferring them with great eagerness, especially at a certain point where abundant vapors exhaled, which rose from there, he practiced several pools, in which he and some neighbors of the valley bathed in curiosity, taking little time to know the wonderful effects they produced in the tumors that these afflicted, which manifested to the local authority and arranged to widen the pools and formed shacks or covered huts for curiosity and honesty of bathers.
The springs were several, all located in the place of Bosobrón, in the left margin of the Major river. The largest of them were 6 feet apart, giving 145 pounds of water per minute. There were also abundant others at distances of 12, 16 and 20 feet from the previous ones.
In 1798, by order of the Junta and Regiment del Valle, a few bottles of water are delivered to Dr. Gutiérrez Bueno, who will carry out the first chemical analysis of them. Likewise, it is projected the construction of small shelters for bathers and a stone bridge over the river bed to access them.
Throughout the first decades of the nineteenth century several attempts were made to build a bathhouse, all being disrupted by the numerous floods of the waters of the river.
In the year 1930, the council and the deputation of the señorío of Vizcaya, before the lamentable state of abandonment that presented the baths, order a new analysis of the waters to the licenciado in pharmacy D. Juan Higinio de Arenaza and they project the construction of a building Spa. The political conflicts of the time and the outbreak of the first Carlist war failed the project.
In the year 1845 the town hall cedes to Rafael Guardamino – natural of the neighborhood of Ranero – the property of the springs and part of the immediate land to the same ones. This, first in partnership with other wealthy Carranzans residing in Madrid, and later as sole owner, undertakes the construction of a spa. Initially the diversion of the channel of the Greater river was made, building in a short space of time a solid malecón to preserve the springs and the building of the impetuous floods of the river.
On these works Miguel Zapater Jerez (Doctor of the spa) wrote in 1868: “… their springs were distributed and balanced in ten large rooms with their corresponding piles, whose isolated and completely independent rooms, all give way to a promenade and waiting room , which surrounds the thermal baths, and then builds on these primitive and solid works, an extensive gallery of lodge with rooms on its sides. The main gate of the thermal baths leads to a large orchard that serves as a walk and recreation for bathers, in the center of which is an elegant kiosk that closes the source of mineral water for indoor use or drink. Subsequently, and as it was observed increasing concurrence, as well as the demands of the most refined taste, it built another body of new building and very good architectural forms, which communicates directly with the previous ones, the one that contains low and main floor with 32 separate or dependent rooms, and adorned with furniture of the best taste, such as, comfortable-desks, large mirrors demarco gold, marble sinks, English beds with mattresses of springs, night tables etc “.
In 1849, by order of August 6, the government declared the acid-saline waters of the spa of Molinar to be useful and medicinal. He appointed Dr. Hilarión Rugama, who until then had been the bather of Azcoitia (Guipúzcoa ).
In the late years of the 1890s, with its sole owner, D. Ramón Bergé Guardamino, the renovation of the original hotel building was carried out by his uncle Rafael Guardamino Tejera. The building was redesigned and enlarged, being designed by the Bilbao architect Severino Achúcarro, entrusting the part corresponding to the real estate and decorated to the known upholsterer Mr. Elorza.
In 1911, after the death of Ramón Bergé Guardamino, his son Ramón Bergé Salcedo undertakes new reforms, providing electrical installation throughout the spa; expanding the park and acquiring sanitary equipment, at the height of those installed in the best foreign spas. A cure installation is implemented by the high-voltage electrical application (diathermy).
In 1913, the Termas de Molinar de Carranza Society was established in Bilbao. Society founded for the exploitation of the spa.
That same year, an article about the spa of Molinar de Carranza appears in the Madrid newspaper “La Época”, on 5 August:
“… The situation of this spa is admirable, being visible from the splendid panorama, being endowed with great comfort, which makes, together with the goodness of its waters, which are classified among chlorides-sodic, bicarbonated radioactive variety, increase every year its already numerous clientele.
The waters of Molinar de Carranza can be used in drinks, baths, showers, inhalations, for which it has a luxurious chamber, inaugurated in 1907, and sprays.
The eminent Dr. Pinilla, dealing with diathermy, in a very interesting article, says that this spa is the only one in Spain that has mounted special appliances for local applications, which reabsorb exudates that are not very old, and disappear swelling gouty or arthritic, obstructing movement.
The kitchen service is famous throughout Spain; because for this the management has always taken care of having a good cook, capable of satisfying the most demanding gourmet. Nowadays large parties are organized, and judging by the number of rooms ordered, it is certain that one of the most popular spas this year must be Molinar de Carranza. ”
Throughout the first third of the twentieth century, coinciding with its golden age, holidaymakers will come to the resort from all economic conditions to take baths. A must for a part of the aristocracy and bourgeoisie of the time. For the spa there were characters such as D. Antonio Maura (President of the Council of Ministers), Mr. Arias Miranda (Minister of Grace and Justice), Deputy Mr. Aznar, Bishop of Vitoria, Archbishop Nozaleda, novelist and playwright Azorín , the Count of Almaráz, the Countess of Zubiría, the Counts of Valdel-Aguila, the Marquis of Yanduri, Monsieur Skybak (Chargé d’Affaires of Norway), Sta. Concepcion Heredia (Private Lady of the King), photographer Néstor Basualdo , etc.
In 1936, when the civil war began, the Republican army seized the buildings of the resort of Molinar, where political prisoners will be interned. The spa is subsequently used as a blood hospital, with a capacity for 165 beds and a fleet of ambulances, light cars and mules to evacuate the wounded. In 1938, after the occupation of Carranza by the national army, this one destined the buildings of the spa to prison camp.
In 1940, the General Directorate of Security and Foreign Affairs occupies the resort to use it as a refugee camp. Until 1944, under surveillance, it will host civilians and military personnel who, through Portugal and Gibraltar, intended to reach London or North Africa to join the Allied army.
In the months of October and December 1944, from Miranda de Ebro, a group of 500 German customsmen, over 40 years of age, will be transferred to the spa (taken by the Government as the Internment Camp). Personnel of the garrisons of the Pyrenean frontier who, after the allied landing at Nice and the liberation of Marseilles, Lyons and Toulon, had received orders from their superiors to go to Spain. In the spa they will remain interned under probation until January 1946, when they will be transferred back to Miranda de Ebro to return to Berlin in the first week of February 1946.
In the late 1940s, Carranza, priests of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (PPPalotino) arrived in Carranza to occupy the buildings of the spa, given by Carmen de la Quadra Salcedo (widow of Ramón Bergé Guardamino) as the main participant in the society of Las Termas of Molinar.
In 1952 they founded the College of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for young vocations, starting classes on October 6 with fifteen students. College that will keep its activity until the year 1957, time in which, put up for sale the Spa, the P.P. Pallottines march from Carranza.
P.P. Palotinos return to Carranza again in 1960, acquiring the spa property, to resume the educational work. They create a Colegio Comarcal and years later, in 1964, odd impart studies of philosophy to the young novices who wanted to enter the Community. Between 1967 and 1976 he established himself as Home School.
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