Bradenton has a spring.
A natural source of pure pristine healing waters. A virgin setting of mystical magnificence.
A well spring native Americans would drink from to heal themselves.
And gather around under a full moon at night to be guided to their one true love.
It is where Ponce De Leon discovered his elusive Fountain of Eternal Youth.
It was what lured our early resident ancestors to travel a great distance just to find healing.
And then build their houses near by just to be close by this lush green reservoir of healing waters. Amidst an overall setting of pure blue waters, soft white sands, large jumping fish, wonderful weather, bountiful land, and big fat lazy Manatees.
Bradenton’s spring has been integrally important to the very foundation and creation of ~ Bradenton. Crucially signifiant. Without it, there might never ever have been a ‘Bradenton’.
If a natural spring such as this in a setting such as this were discovered anywhere else in the world the local residents, towns, cities and governments would build big beautiful spas. And they have.
Major resorts would offer wonderful pools for swimming, becoming stress-free oases for relaxing.
Hundreds of people visit natural healing springs across the globe every day. Enjoying their on-site amenities of baths, showers, massages, yoga, rooms to sleep in, and health fare, juices and smoothies to feel stronger from while dining in their charming cafes.
But especially, they come to drink the pure healing waters.
Water that helps with the suffering they feel from their arthritis, the discomforts caused by their digestive disorders, their general aches and pains. They drink a glass of fresh clean healing spring water just to feel good about themselves.
Like many others, I enjoy traveling. Roaming the backroads, stopping at historic sites.
It was quite by accident when I recently discovered online how my very own hometown of Bradenton has an historic spring. A natural healing fount rich in history. I was dumbstruck. How could I have spent my near entire life in Bradenton and have never heard of it?
Quite excited, I set out on my own ‘mini’ Ponce De Leon quest to find it.
It wasn’t easy. And when I got there, well, it was disappointing.
I’ve been to beautiful spas that offer healing waters. Bradenton’s local spring, by contrast, looks like this:
A small parcel of scruffy land. Signs that are ‘plopped’ here and there. Unmaintained structures. A near imperceptible and decidedly uninviting location.
I walked around. I read the signs. I stood and gazed, trying to imagine its rich history.
But I did not see any water. Nowhere was there a sip to be swallowed.
Since my visit I’ve read that the water’s source is ‘capped’. Its pure healing waters are being drained through an underground pipe into the nearby Manatee River. I wrote an inquiry to the email address on the spring’s website. No one replied.
This spring is situated within the city limits of Bradenton. If I were a city employee I would appreciate how this rich part of Bradenton’s history is something that must be preserved. Enhanced. Brought back to life. I would recognize how our local healing waters could serve as a wonderful tourist attraction. Be a real boon for our local economy. A sanctified setting people would be willing to travel many miles just to visit. To stay for a week, for a month.
Instead, the city of Bradenton has been ‘fighting’ with this spring.
That near decade long legal battle now over, perhaps all of us who live together in this beautiful city we share can become ‘friendly’ again. Because Bradenton’s spring, if brought to life, might just inspire a local Monet.
If brought to life it could possibly even surpass De Soto Landing as a tourist attraction.
Bradenton’s spring has a history that is longer, richer, and far more encompassing. It’s rich diverse history and meaning could give rise to brand new local events inspiring reasons to celebrate entirely new festivals, parades and pageants, including exploring our Native American history. Water themes such as ‘mermaids and manatees’ or perhaps genial otherworldly beings who in ‘fairytale’ land like to live in the woods near springs. A recreational commemorance of our early settlers, pioneers and founders. Possibly an entirely new local ‘Conquistador’ celebration having to do with Ponce De Leon himself. All of which would bring many more tourists to our area, as well as their tourist dollars, making Bradenton a positive destination for visitors throughout the year. And a financially very positive experience for all of us who live and work here.
To invest in this spring now, as Mrs Bishop and Dr Sugg once did with De Soto Landing and our downtown museum, with the right imagination and the proper reverence, could have Bradenton reach a truly international level of personal, tourist, media and possibly even filmmaking interest.
At the very least, its bottled waters could become a real source for local revenue.
Now all we have is a collection of weeds. Its pure healing water draining away like sewage.
Our history, and the many new fun and educational ways we could celebrate it, is literally being dumped.
Bradenton has no spring.
But it could be brought back to life. Wouldn’t we like to have a source for healing waters in a beautiful park-like setting? Perhaps with nice dining, spa amenities and resort offerings nearby? A haven we could visit every day. A place we could visit with our families, our loved ones, our aching and complaining grandparents where everyone, just by drinking a single glass of water, could feel better?
The native Americans who once lived here knew.
Perhaps we should, as well.
Its a lazy day in Bradenton. What would you like to do today?
© Hans Carl Clausen
President & Director
Captured On Film Productions Inc
A non-profit corporation expressly formed to educate and to inspire.