Mineral Springs.Many definitions are given mineral water. One chemist's definition is water which, "by the nature of its principles or by its therapeutic action, differs from drinkable waters," and another is, "natural water which is employed in therapeutics because of its chemical composition or its temperature." The United States government in gathering mineral water statistics issued the following statement written by S. C. Peale, of the U. S. geological survey, in a circular sent to all mineral springs proprietors in the United States: "Our reports do not restrict the term 'mineral waters' to medicinal waters, but includes all spring waters put on the market whether they are utilized as drinking or table waters, or for medicinal purposes, or used in any other way. If the water comes from a spring and is put on sale, in bottles, jugs, barrels or any other way, it is entitled to a place in our reports."
The geological survey of the University of Kansas, in explaining the origin of mineral springs, gives the geological distribution of M. Garrigau: 1warm water found in the oldest rocks (granites); 2bicarbonate and gaseous waters in the midst of volcano rocks; 3ferriginous waters which have their origin in the strata of transition; 4simple saline waters obtained in the secondary strata or at their limits. There seem to be two sources of mineral water. One theory is, that "while this globe was hot and surrounded by vapor there was mingled with the vapor of water that of other substances which at the present time are solids. This condensing vapor would carry with it to the earth greater or less quantities of other elements condensed, and there formed a basis for the oceans as they now exist." The other source is the rain water.
From the very earliest times mineral and thermal baths have been considered of great importance in the maintenance of health and in the cure of disease. The Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, and modern peoples had resorts near springs, the waters of which were supposedly mineral and medicinal. At many of the old resorts, both the external and internal use of the water was prescribed by a physician, and the same method is followed at present day resorts, as the properties of mineral waters vary greatly, and what is beneficial to one is harmful to another. Waters are divided into three classes as far as their reaction is concerned, viz: neutral, acid and alkaline, and are divided into groups with regard to their ingredients.
The waters from mineral springs and wells in Kansas are classified by the university geology survey as follows: The chlorid group; the sulfate group; the chlor-sulfate group; the carbonate group; the chlor-carbonate group; the sulfid group; the chalybeate group; the special group, and the soft water group. Waters of the chlorid group are generally called "brines" because they contain a large quantity of sodium chloride. The most important springs producing this kind of water are the Geuda springs in Cowley county. The sulfate group of waters have sulfates as the predominating ingredient. Under the familiar name of "salts" or "Epsom Salts" there exists magnesium sulfate, and under the name of "Glauber's Salts" there exists sodium sulfate. Kansas is rich in waters of this class, and while most of them are derived from wells some come from springs.
Waters representing this group are found in the vicinity of Carbondale, Osage county, in the Chingawassa springs in Marion county, the Sun springs at Morrill, Brown county, Sycamore springs, near Morrill, and the White Rock springs in Jewell county.
The chlor-sulfate group embraces waters which retain many of the constituents of the chlorid group, yet contain sulfates in considerable abundance. The Morrill mineral spring at Carbondale, Osage county, belongs to this group. It has a flow of 600 gallons an hour, which is supposed to come from a fissure in the rock several hundred feet in depth. Near this spring is a sanitarium where nervous diseases are treated. The most interesting and best known spring in Kansas is the Great Spirit mineral spring near Waconda, Mitchell county. It is thus described by G. E. Patrick: "The spring is distant from Cawker City about 2 1/2 miles. * * It flows, not after the manner of most springs, from some hidden nook or cavern, but from the summit of a nearly symmetrical mound, shaped like a low statured sugar loaf, or to be more mathematical, like a truncated cone. This mound is 42 feet high, nearly as level on the top as a floor, and in the center of this small table land is found the spring itself, which is quite as remarkable as its surroundings. Instead of a gurgling rivulet, trickling away among the rocks, the visitor sees before him a smooth, almost motionless body of water, more than 50 feet across, and filling its basin to overflowing, or if not to actual overflowing, so near it that its surface appears to be upon a level with the top of the mound. * * * The only reason why such overflow does not occur is, that the rock forming the mound is very porous, and affords innumerable minute outlets."
The story of the spring is as follows: Waconda, the daughter of a great Indian chief, became infatuated with the son of a great chief belonging to another tribe. The two tribes being hostile to one another, the intimacy was strongly opposed by the parents, and when the tribes met by this spring a conflict ensued. The lover of Waconda, weak from fighting and loss of blood, fell, or was hurled, in the pool. Waconda plunged in after him and both were drowned. The spring since that time has been called "Waconda" or Great Spirit spring and the Indians believe the spirit of Waconda still dwells in the mound. Every tribe of Indians that has visited Kansas since its earliest settlement has shown the greatest reverence for this spring. There has been much litigation over the Waconda spring, which has hindered its development. There is, however, a hotel there, and much of the water is shipped. About a half mile southeast of the spring is another, called "Waconda No. 2." The important constituents of the water exist in about the same proportion as in the big spring.
Near Lincoln Center, Lincoln county, there are three mineral springs, and at Topeka there is another called Phillips mineral spring. The carbonated waters are perhaps the most numerous of any class. Among these are Dixon's spring at Atchison; the Baxter Chalybeate springs in Cherokee county; Bonner springs, Nos. 1, 2 and 3; Kickapoo springs in Leavenworth county; Chilo springs in Cherokee county; Chautauqua springs in Chautauqua county; Eagle springs in Doniphan county; Murphy springs in Geary county; Hoover's spring at Onaga, Pottawatomie county; Sylvan springs and Stanly spring in Johnson county. Bonner springs are the most important of these, being a resort of some importance, 17 miles west of Kansas City. There are 20 springs, a lake, a park, hotels, a sanitarium, a pavilion, and other improvements necessary to accommodate guests and tourists.
The chlor-carbonate group of waters are those containing quantities of chlorids and bi-carbonates. They are not very numerous in Kansas and are found mostly in wells. Sulfid waters, or those giving off free hydrogen sulfid gas, exist in small numbers and are found in wells instead of springs.
The chalybeate or iron waters are usually carbonates, though the iron in some cases is regarded as a sulfate. Arrington springs, in Atchison county, and McDuff spring, in Atchison; Bonner springs, Nos. 4, 5 and 6; Locust Lake iron spring in Leavenworth county; Parkhurst's spring at Independence; Wetmore springs in Nemaha county; La Cygne iron spring near La Cygne; Clarus spring in Woodson county, and Louisville springs, north of Wamego, are the principal springs of this class.
The special group of waters contain special substances that have thereapeutic value, such as lithium, barium, bromin, strontium, iodin, boric acid and arsenic. This group is represented by Baxter springs Nos. 1 and 5 in Cherokee county, and Lithia spring in Jewell county.
The soft water group of waters are called by some "indifferent" and "neutral" waters because they contain a very small amount of solid matter, some having less than a grain to the gallon. They often have great value as therapeutic agents. The principal springs of this class are Parker's spring at Atchison; Brookville spring in Saline county; California spring in Franklin county; Cave and Chico springs at Salinana; Chautauqua springs; Clarus spring at Batesville, Woodson county; Conway springs in Sumner county; Delaware springs in Wilson county; Linwood spring, Leavenworth county, and Sand springs in Dickinson county. The waters from nearly all the Kansas springs are used for medicinal or domestic purposes. Many of them have hotels, sanitariums and picnic grounds and are patronized extensively as pleasure resorts.Pages 286-289 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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