Fountain of Youth "Spring"
St. Johns County
Summary of Features
- Scale--0 magnitude (no longer flows)
- How Pristine?--Enclosed in building as part of historic attraction area
- Crowds--in tourist attraction that can sometimes be crowded
- Cost--$15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $9 for youth age 6-12
11 Magnolia Avenue in St. Augustine; part of the Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth National Archeological Park.
The spring site is incorporated into a diorama depicting Spanish explorers meeting with Native Americans in St. Augustine in 1513. A springhouse is built around the site from coquina in a Spanish mission style. A framed description of the spring house in the gift shop notes that the springhouse "houses Ponce de Leon's famous spring of eternal hope." The spring does not flow; the flow apparently ceased following a geological event in the 19th century. The flow point is now surrounded by a small shaft, serves as a well, and still contains water that is sold to visitors. The well is a cylindrical tabby-lined shaft in the floor with a low pipe-fence enclosure around it to keep people from falling into it. The diorama is immediately behind the well, depicting the Indian village of Seloy, the historic landing site of Ponce de Leon. An adjacent sign says the following:
T H E F O U N T A I N O F Y O U T H
THIS SPRING WAS DISCOVERED IN 1513 AND WAS RECORDED A LANDMARK IN A SPANISH GRANT
- The former spring is a centerpiece exhibit in the archeological theme park (http://fountainofyouthflorida.com/index.html), which also includes a planetarium, tram/train rides, an Indian village re-creation, a gift shop, an Indian burial area, and other attractions. Peacocks and other animals roam the grounds.
- The back of the postcard scanned above (no name of photographer provided) notes that "senioritas in Spanish costumes serve you water from the crystal clear springs."
- There is no direct evidence that this former spring was sought out by Ponce de Leon as part of his search for the legendary Fountain of Youth. However, the water source was an important one for the Timucuan Indians, who had been living at this site (calling it "Seloy") for an estimated 1,000 years before the Spaniards landed in 1513.
- According to the http://www.staugustine.com/stories/051202/tou_676335.shtml web site, the site was popularized and promoted as the Fountain of Youth by Walter B. Fraser. Born in 1888, Fraser arrived in St. Augustine in 1927 and quickly saw the tourism potential represented in the long-neglected and dilapidated remnants of the city's distant past. He purchased the Fountain of Youth estate that year from Dr. Luella McConnell and converted it into an attraction devoted to educating the public about the "Nation's First Chapter in History." In the 1930's, Fraser brought members of the Carnegie Foundation to St. Augustine and obtained their financial support in creating Colonial St. Augustine, Inc. - a formal restoration movement. Fraser later served as St. Augustine's mayor and as a state senator and was a tireless promoter of St. Augustine. His descendents continue to run the archeological park.
- According to a book published by Fraser, the spring was known as the "Fountain of Youth" for many years before he owned it.
- Green Cove Spring
- Mud Spring
- Beecher Spring
- Green Spring
- Satsuma Spring
- Sulfur Spring
- Welaka Spring
- Whitewater Springs
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Ravine State Gardens
- Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area
- Anastasia State Recreation Area
- Guana River State Park
- Gold Head Branch State Park
- Anastasia State Recreation Area
- Faver-Dykes State Park
- Ocala National Forest
For more information:Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth National Archeological Park
11 Magnolia Avenue
St. Augustine, FL 32084