Sparkling Waters, A History of Cook Springs in St. Clair Co., AL; pages 25-29
Had his name changed to "LaFayette" to avoid confusion with his uncle, Robert Washington
"LaFayette was an astute businessman who 'wrote the book on family values.' His family was included in all his business ventures. When his father died, eighteen-year-old LaFayette became the head of the family. His sister, Jane, who was ten years older than he, became the 'mother.' Their older brothers had moved west. John Elias had gone to Walker Co., AL. Osburn and Alexander went to the Mississippi Delta.
Shortly after LaFayette turned twenty-one, he saddled two horses and rode north four miles to meet Elizabeth Polk. THey went to the home of a minister where they were married. This union, which was frowned upon by Franklin Marion Polk, the bride's father, lasted sixty-five years.
In 1882, a cottage with two fireplaces was built near the railroad trestle. The LaFayette Cooke family moved into this cottage from the farm which was two and one half miles away. Wehn the Georgia Pacific Railroad was completed between Birmingham and Atlanta in November 1883, so was LaFayette Cooke's sixty-room Victorian style hotel.
The resort hotel operation was a family affair. Dr. William Praytor Cooke, oldest son of LaFayette, was the hotel physician. Henry E. RIggan & Co., were the proprietors of the hotel in the early 1900's. Henry was the husband of Jessie Cooke, oldest child of LaFayette."