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Friday, February 26, 2010

Mineral Springs

Mineral springs were a popular investment in the late 1800s. While hot springs were developed as spas and resorts and a place to re-invigorate the body and soul, the water from mineral springs was sold by the glassful or bottle and said to cure stomach ailments, headaches and more.

Lake County had its share of mineral springs inland from Lake Michigan. The natural artesian springs bubbled to the surface of the land. Investors had the water analyzed and then advertised it as a "water cure." Even Besley's Waukegan Brewery, which used water from a local spring, claimed that the water gave its brew curative properties.

In Waukegan there were four springs—Glen Flora, McAllister (aka Quintette), Magnesia, and Sag-au-Nash. 

The Glen Flora Springs was probably the best known. It was located in the Glen Flora Ravine east of Sheridan Road on the property of Calvin C. Parks (1805-1860). A hotel was built on the east side of Sheridan Road to accommodate tourists coming to enjoy the spring.
Dedication day at Glen Flora Springs, 1874. The two men at front left are holding glasses of water. Notice the funnels next to the spring's hole for easy pouring into bottles. Dunn Museum 92.32.264.

Advertisement for Glen Flora Springs boasting "no more sewage in your drinking water." July 7, 1900 Waukegan Daily Sun.

The McAllister Springs were originally called Quintette Springs. This spring was owned by Judge McAllister, and located south of Belvidere Road and west of McAllister Avenue in the present Roosevelt Park.
Like other local springs, the McAllister Spring was landscaped to give it a park-like setting. The site would become Roosevelt Park, Waukegan Park District. Dunn Museum.

The Sag-au-Nash Spring was owned and operated by Elijah M. Haines. The spring's location was south of the Waukegan River in the central part of the city.

The letters of an unidentified woman traveling by rail in 1881 were published by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company under the title, "My Rambles in the Enchanted Summer Land." The letters testify to the beauty and value of these springs. She wrote that Waukegan's springs: "attract hundreds of summer visitors who desire rest and healthful amusement, together with the benefit derived from its valuable mineral water."

Of her visit of the Glen Flora Springs she wrote: "They were nestled lovingly in a romantic glen, the sunlight sifting through the trees..."

She also visited the Magnesia Mineral Springs, which are referred to as "Powell's water" for its owner J.F. Powell. The Magnesia Springs were located on Glenrock Avenue between Bluff and Lincoln.

Magnesia Springs with its beautiful gazebo. Dunn Museum.
The traveler wrote that Magnesia Springs "has effected many remarkable cures, which are so astonishing, yet perfectly reliable, that their repetition savors strongly of the 'legendary.'"

Magnesia Springs brochure, which includes the springs' mineral content, 1875. Dunn Museum 2007.3.7.

Magnesia Spring advertisement, circa 1875. Dunn Museum2007.3.6

Advertisement for Glen Flora Mineral Springs showing an analysis of its water, 1874. 

What became of Waukegan's springs and also those in Libertyville (Abana Springs) and Highland Park (Sparkling Springs)? Simply put, people pressure. The demand for water use through residential and industrial development depleted the water level of the springs to the point where they no longer bubbled to the surface.

As far as I know, the only spring still in operation is Highland Park's Sparkling Spring Water Company. When it was founded in 1896 by William Tillman, the water gushed out so forcefully it was called "sparkling spring" for the way it jumped in the sunlight.


Anonymous said...

Was Elijah Haines related to the Haines of Hainesville?

D_Dretske said...

Yes, Elijah Haines is Hainesville's namesake and founder.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a beautiful piece of land and a genuine piece of Lake County/Illinois history.

Edie said...

This question is in regards to a mineral springs resort from the 1930's, perhaps earlier. The resort was in Knox County, IL. I thought the stories, I'd heard as a child, were that it was located in Maquaon,IL. It was said to be frequented by the Shelton Bros. and other criminals from Chicago and Peoria. I believe the resort was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. That is all I know. Do you have any knowledge of the resort of old? If so I cannot recall the name. If you have info - I would love to know and share with family who heard these stories as children as well. Thank you!

D_Dretske said...

Hi Edie,

We did a search of the Teich Archives database and did not find any resort/springs related postcards in the collection. That does not mean there wasn't a resort there, we just don't have an item in the collection. You may wish to contact the Maquon Historical Association at 309-289-2817.

Thanks for reading!

Dean Chick said...

Is there any list of the minerals that were in the water?

Diana Dretske said...

Thanks for your question, Dean. I'm adding an "Analysis of Glen Flora Mineral Water" to my post.


Unknown said...

Looking for info on Glen Rock Springs Waukegan, Ill

Diana Dretske said...

Glen Rock Springs was previously known as Waukegan Magnesia Mineral Spring. In 1887, English immigrant, John F. Powell (1849 – 1914), who owned the Waukegan Magnesia Mineral Spring, changed the name to Glen Rock Spring and began selling soda and other beverages.

Thanks for reading!

Zack said...

When I was a kid we moved to Hainesville in 1994, we had several small springs that bubbled about 6" out of the ground and another about a foot in diameter close by, maybe 30' away it only came up an inch or two. The levels coming out changed with the seasons, they emtied into a drying up pond / wetlands. About 4 blocks away was another one which kinda just swirled and fed a small marsh, it was a deep blue green in color. They built the water tower a few years later & dug a retention pond. The springs were gone after they finished it & the swirling one was lost when they put in a housing development behind us. If you walk the gravel path going north / south off Hunter's Way & Deer Run they were pretty much right on it. There are a few of them located in the Fairfield disc golf park.

Diana Dretske said...

Hi Zack,

I think you may be describing broken field tiles. It sounds like a tile was busted in two places (bubbling up 30 feet apart). When the site was developed for a subdivision all the farmer's field tiles would have been removed and new drainage put in.

Thanks for your comment.


Logterman LLC said...

I have an old Mineral Springs 5 gallon glass bottle that's never even been opened. It has a red rubber top and is in perfect condition. The phone number on the bottle is 312-831-3442, but it has been disconnected. I'm trying to find out the history of this bottle, hoping someone there could help. Thanks for your time!

Diana Dretske said...

Hello Logterman,

We do not have information on the bottles used for the mineral springs. Jenny Barry of Cook Memorial Library wrote a "Shelf Life" blog post about Libertyville's Abana Springs. As I recall, she also did a bit of research on the bottles they used.

Abana Springs post:
Jenny Barry contact

Good luck with your research and thanks for reading!


G Woertz said...

I doubt that the "Mineral Springs" Bottle is old enough to have come from around Waukegan as the phone exchanges here were still identified with alpha prefixes until the mid-60's and "831" was not an exchange from the Waukegan area.

Anonymous said...

there is a location still in Waukegan to access it.

Paul ELLOIAN said...

Does any one know exactly or close where the glen flora spring is located now.

Diana Dretske said...

Hi Paul,

Glen Flora Springs were in the Glen Flora Ravine, east side of Sheridan Road at Miraflores Avenue.

Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Crazy to me that this website and you have been here since 2010.