Alongside a country road in Wisconsin’s rural Star Valley, cool, clear spring water bubbles into a lichen-covered bathtub. Anyone is welcome to drink from it (at their own risk).
The spring used to be property of the Swiggum Farm, which used it to chill milk before transporting it to a creamery the next day. The family drank from it too—the farm didn’t have running water until the mid-20th century, but it was no matter because their own personal spring was always bubbling. Drivers would stop to fill their jugs with water. Once or twice strangers even stored six packs of beer overnight alongside the Swiggums’ milk.
Sometime after the Swiggums sold the farm, a mysterious someone stuck a pipe into the hillside spring and hauled an old fashioned porcelain tub out to collect the spring water. There are even two tin cups on a chain for those in need of refreshment.
No one knows who placed the mysterious bathtub here. The original tub sank into the boggy ground, but was replaced by another. The water is reported to taste sweet and slightly mineral. The government declared it unsafe to drink from, but that doesn’t stop the many thirsty passersby who stop to swig from the bathtub spring. They point to Pearl Swiggum, former owner of the neighboring farm and a columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal, who famously lived to the ripe age of 101, drinking spring water for most of her life.
Know Before You Go
Between Viroqua and Soldiers Grove, WI in Star Valley near Troll Toppem Road.The bathtub is at the exact coordinates listed where McManus Road meets the main C road.