Ponce de Leon Springs
The main spring is formed by
two underground flows that
produce 14 million gallons of
water each day.
Water Pours from Springs
Rushing water pours from the
spring basin into Spring Run,
a tributary of Sandy Creek.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Ponce de Leon Springs State Park, Florida
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park - Ponce De Leon, Florida
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
Located in the Northwest Florida town of Ponce de
Leon, the springs produce a daily flow of 14 million
gallons of 68 degree water.
A Florida Fountain of Youth
One of Florida's most picturesque natural
settings is the focal point of Ponce de Leon
Springs State Park. Located in the small
Holmes County town of Ponce de Leon, the
park is the home of Ponce de Leon Springs.

Named for the Spanish explorer who came to
Florida in search of the mythical fountain of
youth during the early 1500s, the springs
produce a daily flow of 14 million gallons of
water. The main spring is formed by two
underground flows that pour out water that
maintains a constant temperature of 68
degrees year round. It feels warm during the
winter and ice cold during the summer.

While Ponce de Leon himself never made it
this far into Northwest Florida, the springs do
possess a rich history. Native Americans
frequented these waters long before the first
Europeans arrived in Florida. Early explorers
found the Chatot and Chisca (Yuchi) Indians
living and hunting in this area.

As settlers drifted into the region following
the transfer of Florida from Spain to the
United States in 1821, Ponce de Leon
Springs quickly attracted attention. The clear
waters were popular for fishing, drinking and
cooling off on hot days.

A log hotel was established at the spring
during the late 1840s and several families
settled in the immediate area. These early
settlers were terrorized by the brutal activities
of deserter gangs during the Civil War, but it
was not until September of 1864 that the
regular Union army paid a visit to Ponce de
Leon Springs.

On September 24, 1864, a force of 700 Union
soldiers led by Brigadier General Alexander
Asboth paused briefly at the springs. The
hotel was destroyed and neighboring homes
looted. The raiders were on their way to the
Battle of Marianna.

Records of the raid indicate that the Union
force sustained its first loss in the Ponce de
Leon area. Private Joseph Williams of
Company H, 86th U.S. Colored Infantry, was
mortally wounded in an accidental shooting
and left "in the lines of the enemy at Big
Sandy Creek."
Spring Run
A nature trail leads along
Spring Run, the stream that
flows from the spring.
The springs remained a popular spot for
recreation in the years after the Civil War and
by the 1920s the site was owned by the
Smithgall family. A wooden retaining wall
was built around the main spring basin in
1926 to halt erosion that was beginning to
threaten the beauty of the springs.

Ponce de Leon Springs became a Florida
state park in 1970. The main spring is still
popular for swimming and is often quite
crowded during the summer months. The
park service has built a bath house, picnic
areas, playgrounds and other recreational
facilities adjoining the swimming area.

In addition, the park preserves a beautiful
natural setting along Spring Run and Sandy
Creek. Nature trails lead through the forests
and along the flowing streams.

Please click here to visit the official park
service website for directions and more
Ponce de Leon Spring
The spring was the site of a
log hotel that was destroyed
by Union raiders during the
Civil War.
Gurney's 125 x 125
Custom Search
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.