Crystal Spring, Florence, KS 66851  4/5 (1)

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Crystal Spring flows year-round from the Flint Hills limestone aquifer. Known locally as City Spring, it yields up to 1000 gallons per minute. The 1949 pump house provides water to nearby Florence, where the historic water tower proclaims, “99.96% Pure Spring Water.” At the rear base of the pump house, the spring flows from a rusty, moss-covered hatch. Water can be collected from the stream or by wading to the hatch. Caution: The spring bank may be slippery. Be aware of sharp stones and broken glass in both the parking area and the creek bed. 

A monument at the spring site details its history:
Crystal Spring
This site is said to have been a favorite camping ground of the Indians. Patent on this land was filed by James D. Riggs on April 25, 1876. Ralph Robison, who purchased the property July 31, 1915, signed a ninety-nine year lease on July 20, 1920, with the city of Florence for water rights. The city paid $10,000 for the first year and $500 each year for the remainder of the lease. This included four acres and right-of-way for the access road and water main. Crystal Spring, also known as Riggs Spring or City Spring, is one of the largest single springs in the Flint Hills.
The building houses the pumping equipment used to pump the water to the water tower (built in 1887) west of the city. The pump has the capacity to deliver up to 370 gallons per minute to the water tower. Except for a brief time in 1951, after flood waters covered the pump, a continuous water supply has met the needs of the city with a large amount of overflow into the creek bed below the water works. A well was dug in the vicinity of the spring to serve as an auxiliary supply in case of need. 
With the passing of Robison in 1960, the land and spring was left to Father Flanigan’s Boys’ Home of Omaha and the Methodist Children’s Home at Newton. In 1961 the property was purchased by John Deforest of Peabody and remains in the family today. 
See also:
“The Flint Hills Aquifer in Kansas” by Robert Davidson
“Water of the Most Excellent Kind: Historic Springs in Kansas” by Rex Buchanan, Robert Sawin, and Wayne Lebsack
Directions from US-50 W
Turn north on 130th Street (Landmarks: Hillcrest Cemetery sign and water treatment building)
After crossing two bridges, take the next right on Whitetail Road (Landmark: White house)
Take the first right turn—this access road dead ends at Crystal Spring


How to Collect Spring Water

Drinking pure spring water is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Our bodies are over 99% water at the molecular level, so water affects every aspect of our biology. Yet, not all water is created equal. Almost all the bottled spring water available is pasteurized for shelf stability, which neutralizes many of the powerful health benefits such as increased hydrogen, healthy probiotics, and crystalline structure. For more about why unprocessed spring water is the best water to drink, read this.

The best way to guarantee you are getting real unprocessed spring water is to collect it yourself. This is a short and simple guide filled with information about how to gather spring water. We will cover how to find a spring, how to collect the water, how to honor the spring, how to store the water properly and other tips. is the best resource for locating a spring near you. However, not all springs are on the map. First, check the map to see if there is a spring in your local area. If there is, look at the reviews and comments. Has anyone shared helpful information about flow rate or posted a water test result? Is the spring in a pristine area? Do a bit of research and make sure the spring is safe to drink from. If you have any doubt about the purity, don’t risk it and get a water test, HERE. If you don’t see a spring on the map in your area, there still might be some that aren’t listed yet. First, ask the older generation who have lived in your area a long time if they know. You can also ask people in your community who might already get spring water such as people at a health food store or at a farmers market. Another great option is to view A US forest service map, where many springs have been marked. You can view these maps through the Gaia GPS or All Trails hiking apps on your phone. The map overlay you want is USGS Topo. Not all are easily accessible or ideal for drinking, but some are and it can be a fun adventure to find them. We have found over half a dozen great springs this way.

Once you’ve found your spring, figure out how you are going to gather the water. Is it right on the side of the road and easy to access or do you have to hike to it? We recommend storing spring water in glass instead of plastic to preserve the purity of the water. It is better for the environment, your body, and the water. Even BPA free plastic has toxic chemicals that can leach into water and cause health issues. If you do want to use plastic for safety reasons when filling at the spring, we recommend transferring the water to glass as soon as possible. FindASpring is sponsored by Alive Waters, which offers beautiful reusable glass. They have a 2.5 gallon option, which is a convenient size for carrying that isn’t too heavy. They also sell handles that you can use to transport the jugs even more easily. If you have to hike to access the spring, we recommend putting the water jugs into an extra large backpack to hike the water out with ease. We use Osprey packs that hold 2 jugs each. You can also use a wheelbarrow or even a stroller depending on how easy a walk it is.

Filling 2.5 Gallon Alive Waters Jug

When you get to the spring, remember to first give back before you take. Springs are considered sacred in indigenous cultures around the world for their life giving water and also as a connection to the inner earth. A powerful and simple way to give back is to clean up. Is there any trash that needs to be collected? Could you move any dead leaves or sticks to improve the flow rate? Show up in service. Some other wonderful ways to give is with a moment of expressing verbal gratitude, singing songs to the water, offering the water an ethically sourced crystal, a feather, or some other physical gift. Flowers are a popular and beautiful thing to offer, but please be careful to source organic ones as most flowers from the store are sprayed with pesticides and can be toxic to put near a spring. Also, flowers can attract bugs as they decay, so it can be best to offer them to the flowing water directly or a little downstream from the spring head.

When gathering the water, fill the jug as close to the spring head as possible, never gather downstream. Be very careful as wet glass is extremely slippery. Make sure the lid is securely fastened. When transporting the spring water home, the jugs can sometimes slide around the car. Secure them in place or wrap them with towels or something so they don’t crash into each other.

How you store your spring water is essential. It is not pasteurized like spring water from the store, so it will start growing algae if left in direct sunlight. This is good because it means it’s alive! If the water you drink can’t even support the most basic life forms, how do you think it will support your body? Store your water in a cool, dark place such as a dark corner, pantry or closet. The fridge is ideal if you have room. Some people prefer to filter their water through a Berkey filter before drinking, but if the spring is pure, it’s not necessary. We drink our spring water completely unfiltered.

How long the water stays good for depends on how cold a temperature it’s stored at. Spring water is best fresh. We personally do not prefer to drink spring water past 2 weeks old. However, we know other people that will drink it at a month old. It’s great to get in a rhythm where you know how long the water lasts you and put your collection day on the calendar in advance.

I believe that water is calling us to reconnect with her in the deepest way, to gather our own water. Just like our ancestors did. Our ancestors didn’t have fancy water machines. They also didn’t create villages or settle where there was no water. Water was revered as the center of the community and the nodal point around which life could spiral out and take root.

Here’s to restoring the sacred connection with the waters of life.

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