Monday, July 13, 2009
Summer Escapes #12 - Wakulla Springs, Florida
Wakulla Springs State Park near Tallahassee, Florida, preserves one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. It is a popular place for summer escapes and is rich in history and natural beauty.
Specially equipped divers have explored the caves from which the water flows for miles and to depths of over 300 feet. The spring has also produced outstanding collections of bones from prehistoric animals, including mastodons.
Early Native Americans hunted, gathered and fished in and around the spring and local legend holds that the name "Wakulla" is an ancient Indian word meaning "strange and mysterious waters."
The Creek Prophet, Josiah Francis, established a village downstream from Wakulla Springs after fleeing to Florida at the end of the Creek War of 1813-1814. It was here that his daughter, Milly Francis, saved the life of a U.S. soldier in 1818 and became known as the Creek Pocahontas.
The spring and surrounding property were purchased in 1934 by noted Florida industrialist Edward Ball. He preserved the land in its natural state and opened the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge in 1937.
Wakulla Springs is now a state park and is open to visitors daily. The park features glass-bottom boats, river cruises, swimming, hiking and picnicking as well as dining and overnight stays in the beautiful old lodge. To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/wakullasprings.