"The springs are numerous and are all delightfully situated at the foot of some lovely sloping hill, or by the side of some beautiful walk, over which the boughs of the overhanging trees sway and swing in the breeze. The water of all the springs, save one, is freestone and it is cold and clear and beautiful, one being sulphur and iron principally. Their names are Bethesda, Saloam, Constitution, one without a name, and Sulpher Spring. Over Bethesda, which is at the foot of a lovely ivy grown hill, stands a large statue of an angel, blessing the water, a gift of Major Root. Opposite this charmingly situated spring is the "Tarn", a dark looking little pool fringed with reeds and rushes, and holding a tiny island in the center, upon which is waving a tall caladium and clusters of ferns and cat-tails. This is one of the prettiest parts of the park, and the shade is dense and pleasant on the hottest day. Frogs croak hoarslely in the water as they bask lazily in the reeds adn blink stupidly in the sun, and the songs of the birds and the rustling of the leaves leaves make a sweet music in the air."
A excerpt from "The Gate City" published 1890.
Where Are the Springs Today?
At one time, people referred to Grant Park as a resort. They came by the thousands to enjoy the shaded walks, the carriageways, the cool spring waters and more. Visitors would take bottles of water home to use for bathing and for medicinal purposes. The springs bubbled to the surface and flowed to a streambed and then to Lake Abana - a six acre lake. But before the turn of the 20th century the springs were buried in pipes under ground. And there they remain. We think.
In 2003, a storm water retention pond was created to capture the large volume of run-off from parking areas and roadways. While digging the footprint of the pond, one of the original springs - Salaam Spring - was unearthed. It now flows into the pond at a rate of about 18,000 gallons a day (almost 7 million gallons a year). Plans are moving forward to determine the viability of other springs as well.
to be continued