Worth a Shot


Yesterday I learned that St. Petersburg is home to the Fountain of Youth. I have no idea how that fascinating detail eluded me for so long but I headed over there today to check it out. The current fountain occupies the northwest corner of the Dali Museum parking lot marked with little fanfare.

Like its current condition, the fountain had a humble beginning. The original natural spring was tapped in 1901 by Edwin Tomlinson, who owned bayfront land just south of downtown. He allowed people to drink their fill without charge, though since it was reportedly quite sulfurous in taste I can’t imagine folks drank much of it.

Somehow, word spread that the water had healing properties and soon locals and their guests were filling up their jugs at the fountain. Seeing a moneymaking opportunity Dr. Jesse Conrad purchased the property in 1908. He installed a large Fountain of Youth sign, opened soaking pools, and started charging for the restorative water.

A hurricane in 1946 damaged the waterfront operation and the spring was piped a few blocks west. In 1971, the spring water was tested and found to contain a high level of lithium, a known mood stabilizer. The water may not have been able to turn back time but apparently, it made you worry less about aging. The water continued to bubble up until 1975 when the pipes deteriorated and the site was closed.

I wasn’t able to find out when the city reopened the site but I do know that what gurgles out today is from the municipal water system. I took a sip and filled a bottle anyway, after all, I do have a birthday coming up soon.

Categories: Observations

4 comments

  1. Good idea Kid, although you already look like you’ve been drinking from the “Fountain of Youth”, just saying!

    Like

  2. Good idea Kid, although it looks like you’ve already been drinking from the “Fountain of Youth”, just saying!

    Liked by 1 person

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