Legends say that drinking water from the famed “Fountain of Youth” will bring your body a healthy rejuvenation. It is on this site just a few block from historic St. Augustine that Ponce de Leon, the notable 16th century Spanish explorer is said to have touched ground. There is no evidence to say that this ground is the exact location but it has been a tourist destination since the late 1800s.
In 1904, Mrs. McConnell, a Chicago doctor purchased the property and turned it into the current park that stands today. She monetized the site by selling bottled water from a well previously established at the location. Until her death in 1927, Ms. McConnell would “find” artifacts at the site and claim they were left behind centuries before by Ponce de Leon himself. These artifacts and the idea of magical water inspired tourists to flock to the destination. It was also McConnell who coined the term “Fountain of Youth” for the attraction.
The next owner purchased the property and was the previous manager named Walter Fraser. At a cost of $100,000 in 1927, he took ownership of the landmark. He furthered the efforts of making it a tourist destination. The site become one of the most well known attractions in Florida by the 1930s. After an excavation hosted by the Smithsonian Institution and later the University of Florida, it was discovered that the land was the site of the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in America and also the location of the first Catholic mission.
Over the past several decades, many excavations have been done which have resulted in the discovery of bones, artifacts and wells left behind from the Spanish establishment that once stood at this location.
Check out the map above for a more precise location of the famed Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida. For more information about hours and admission please visit https://www.fountainofyouthflorida.com/visit/.
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