Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Green Cove Spring
Clay County

Summary of Features

Scale—3rd magnitude 
Scenery—very good 
How Pristine?—encircled by concrete, in urban park setting 
Swimming—none in spring, good in adjacent spring-fed pool 
Protection—good 
Crowds—in well-used park that can be crowded 
Access—excellent 
Facilities—outstanding 
Safety—excellent 
Scuba—no 
Cost—free to see spring; $2 for adults and
           $1 forchildren to swim in adjacent pool

Directions
In the center of Green Cove Springs. From the intersection of U.S.16 and SR 17 in Green Cove Spring, go one block north on U.S. 17 and turneast onto Spring Street and continue one block to the spring and SpringPark.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery,and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring,go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site atthe following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring appearance has not changed since it was described in detailby Rosenau et al. in Springs of Florida (1977). The authors of this Guidecannot add to or detract anything from Rosenau’s excellent physical descriptionof this spring:

The spring is in a city park amid oak and palm trees on the westbank of the St. Johns River. The spring pool, about 20 feet in diameterat land surface, is bounded by a 2-ft.-high decorative concrete railing.The pool tapers downward in soft marl like an irregularly shaped funnelto a 2-ft. diameter cavern opening in its bottom, 31.5 feet below watersurface. The 2-ft. opening then opens into a cavern 25 feet wide trendingin a NE direction toward the St. Johns River. The roof of the cavern descendsto a depth of 50 ft. and the bottom of the cavern falls to 150 feet. Someof the flow in this cavern is toward the St. Johns River, and it is possiblethat the spring does discharge water into the river bed. Most of the flowappears to emanate from the 2-ft. opening in the bottom of the pool. Dischargefrom the pool is through a 4-ft.-wide weir opening in the NE side to a50-ft. by 100-ft. swimming pool. The swimming pool overflows through aweir on its east end to a spring run that is tributary to the St. JohnsRiver about 300 ft. farther east. Some or all of the flow from the springcan be directed from a flume to bypass the swimming pool. The water isclean and clear and has a hydrogen sulfide odor (pp. 169-170).

One dates of visit (1995-2001), JF has observed coins, a golf ball,a brick, and other debris that had been thrown into the spring. There isalgae growing on the rocks in the spring, and there are whitish depositsin the run. The spring run below the pool winds through the city park surroundingthe spring and is clear, a few inches deep, and 8-10 feet wide. Bananaand other trees have been planted along the spring run. A sign next tothe spring says it is 28 feet deep and provides 1990 measurements of itsflow and water content/quality characteristics.

Use/Access

Local Springiana
The town of Green Cove Springs, which is now a bedroom community forJacksonville, is named for the spring. The spring was originally a watersource for the community. There are a number of historic buildings nearthe spring, including a hotel (undergoing renovation in April 2001) wherepeople stayed while seeking "cure" at the spring. In his 1869 book describinga winter in Florida, Ledyard Bill provided an excellent description ofGreen Cove Spring and its utilization at that time:

The spring is the attraction at Green Cove, distant not over tenrods from the river, and double that from the principal hotel. It is owned,as are most of the village lots, by two parties--Mrs. Ferris and a Mr.Palmer at Jacksonville; who being opposed to improvements, and seeminglyto every enterprise as well as to their own interests, suffer the springto remain surrounded by a clump of wild trees, which, however, serves agood purpose in screening bathers; yet it is not to the interest of thevillagers to have affairs continue in their present unimproved state. Thespring has scooped for itself a bed, twenty by fifty feet, and lies someten feet below the surrounding level. It flows freely from its fountainheadinto this spactious reservoir, of an average of five feet in depth, andthen runs rapidly off to the river. The water is at a temperature of, weshould judge, about seventy-five degrees, very pleasant, and thoroughlyunharmful to drink. It bursts up with considerable force, and clear ascrystal. It has a slight sulphurous taste, and leaves slight traces ofthe same mineral on the sides of the spring. Both magnesia and iron are,we think, held in solution. Every one spoke in high praise of this spring-water,both as a drink and for bathing uses; for the latter of which, regularhours are assigned to the different sexes. A dozen or more rude yet convenientdressing-houses surround it. (pp. 99-100)

Bill goes on in a later chapter to sing more praises of the spring:

Though we have spoken in a previous chapter of the spring at GreenCove, yet to omit mention of it here would be an injustice, not for anything remarkable about it as seen by the beholder, but for its high valueas a curative agent. In this particular, it excels all others with whichwe are acquainted. Its water is pure and pleasant, and has the credit ofhaving cured some invalids and greatly benefited many others. Its depthis such that any one may bathe in it without fear, and the use of the waterincreases the appetite and strengthens the system. Indeed, it is the onlyspring with which we are familiar in this State that has any reputationas a curative agent (p. 140).

Another account from this period was written by George Walton in his1876 chronicle of mineral springs in the U.S. He noted that "a partialanalysis showed the water to contain sulphate of magnesia, sulphate oflime, chloride of sodium, iron, and considerable sulphuretted hydrogen.. . . Temperature, 76 degrees Fahr. the flow is exceedingly large" (p.185).

Personal Impressions
Of all the developed springs the authors have seen, Green Cove is perhapsthe nicest and most pleasant. The system for filling the city pool is assimple as it is ingenious. While the wall around the pool is not natural,it does seem to keep most people out of the spring if not from occasionallytossing things into it.

Nearby Springs

Heilbronn Springs
Wadesboro Spring
Whitewater Springs
Kingsley Lake

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