Originally meant to be a spring house grotto reminiscent of a Roman cavern, this 1930s spring house is fronted by an arch of stone and concrete, with an engraved stone disc declaring the “Fountain of Youth.” Inside, it is surprisingly dark with a refreshing wet earth and decaying wood aroma. The space feels much like a womb, and the smell and sound of running water fills the air.
According to the Latodami Nature Center (which keeps a timeline of the park), the Fountain of Youth was built in 1938, and the spring was enjoyed as a local water source until May 1955. Conflicting stories abound about the source of the water. Some say that this spring house was built over a natural spring, others that it was mistaken for a natural spring but was really a leak in the golf course’s water system that, once fixed, led to the end of the water. Water continues to flow at the spring today.
At the far back wall there is a dark square where the pump was broken off when the spring was declared unsafe. It opens to a surprisingly long and large space that sometimes fills with water. You exit the space facing west, a direction that signifies water, the challenges of middle age, and the sacred feminine in local folk belief. An excellent time to visit the spring is just as the moon comes up over the horizon, moving in the same direction you move to exit the fountain, making it seem to transform into a magical, harmonizing space.