The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Pfäfers

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PFÄFERS, pfā'fĕrs, or PFEFFERS, pfĕf-fĕrs, Switzerland, a small health-resort in the canton of Saint Gall and 31 miles east of the village of that name. It is famous for its warm baths, situated in the vale of the Tamina, in one of the most extraordinary gorges in Switzerland. Its permanent population is about 600. The baths are built on a narrow ledge of rock a few feet above a rushing mountain torrent, the buildings which form them consisting of two structures connected by a chapel so deeply sunk between the rocks that the sun in the longest summer day is visible above them only from 10 to 4 o'clock. The spring is heavily impregnated with chlorides, and has a temperature of neariy 100° F. Since 1840 the water has been conveyed by pipes to the village of Ragatz (q.v.) below the gorge, a distance of about two and one-half miles, without losing its warmth. Near the village is situated the ancient Benedictine abbey of Pfeffers, a vast edifice, built in 1665, and now used as a lunatic asylum under the name of Saint Pirminsberg. The abbot of this institution in the 10th century enjoyed independence of the civil government of the duchy. Up to 1838 the baths were controlled by the abbey.