Vishnu Springs was a resort town built in the late 19th century on property that exists today as a wildlife preserve. The three-story Capitol Hotel built in 1889 is all that remains.
The land was known for its "medicinal" natural spring water in the late 1800's, which attracted many visitors. In 1889, the land was divided into thirty parcels, which were sold for $30 each. Soon, homes and businesses were built, and attractions such as a race track, man-made fishing pond, and a carousel were added.
The town never prospered due to a lack of transportation to the area, and became abandoned by the 1920's. New owners repaired the decayed hotel in the late 1930's and used the resort area for family and friends. Visitors were allowed access to the spring until 1954.
The hotel was reopened in the 1960's for a short time, and the land became a hippie commune in the 1970's. In 2003, the land was donated to the Western Illinois University Foundation.