History of Dowell Springs: The Lonas Family Legacy


“Many prayers were said over this land. That it would be used for something beneficial for our community and that it would be a blessing to all who visit.”

Those are the words from a descendant of the original family who lived at Dowell Springs, a special place for many people in our community and visitors from near and far. Not only is the campus home to the Historic Lonas farmhouse, it is home to Provision Healthcare, a developer of proton therapy cancer treatment centers. The beauty of the property and the magnificent views from the buildings bring a calm and healing atmosphere to all who visit. 

Roberta Lonas Potter is a descendant of the Lonas family, who originally owned the Dowell Springs property. Family descendants sold the 120-acre farm in the late 1990’s to White Realty for the Dowell Springs Business & Medical Park. Roberta and her family held their breath as the land was sold. They prayed that the land would be used to benefit the community.

“It makes me cry. We can see our ancestor’s home place and land be used for such wonderful and beneficial purposes to save lives,” said Roberta. “I would have never thought proton therapy, one of the most advanced forms of cancer treatment, would be placed on my family’s land.”

Roberta’s ancestors, Mary and Jacob Lones, moved to what is now known as the Dowell Springs Campus in 1790 and built a log house above a fresh water spring. Mary and Jacob Lones had 10 children, fought Indians, and endured many hardships along the way. Eventually Jacob’s son, Charles, decided to build a new brick house on the property. The bricks were all handmade and fired in a nearby kiln. Heart-pine floors are still on the second floor and the massive doors held by wooden pegs were made from the farm’s trees. Nearly everything in the house was produced locally, except the locks on the doors and window glass, some of which still remains.

The house can be seen from Middlebrook Pike between the two main entrances of Dowell Springs Campus. There is also a walking trail that leads to the natural spring where the original log house was built. Pack a lunch and take a walk down this amazing trail through history!