Made a great discovery for my first blog post in the LA Weekly! And I didn’t get any comments, but I got 3 tweets, which was nice.
L.A. mystery: Fountain of Youth natural spring in Griffith Park?
Did Fern Dell residents living along the southern edge of Griffith Park find a Fountain of Youth?
The mystery surfaced in the heat of mid-August, when the nearby American Film Institute (whose headquarters are located near Griffith Park), Immaculate Heart High School and two homeowners found water leaking into inappropriate areas. The Department of Water and Power insists its pipes — recently bursting and creating sinkholes in other parts of L.A. — are not to blame.
Back in 1929. a natural spring was discovered in Fern Dell, and some called it the Fountain of Youth. Here’s the fascinating story:
Local resident Gerry Hans says that in the 1920s, news of a natural spring spread among Angelenos, who dubbed it the “Fern Dell Spa.” He points to Mike Ebert’s book, “Griffith Park, A Centennial History,” which reads:
People were trekking to the southwestern corner of Griffith Park so they could fill jugs and bottles with water. Word had spread that the water from a particular spring at Fern Dell was special…Others attributed health-enhancing qualities to it. There was even some playful talk that it was the fountain of youth.
The Park Department capped the spring and had it piped to Los Feliz Blvd., but neighbors complained that it flooded the street. Later, the Park directed it to spigots, and even in 1967 people were coming for the water.
Nice photo! Of Fern Dell walkways, by chotda.
Go read the whole thing (slightly edited by Jill Stewart) over there.
It started when the all-knowing Bernadette Soter mentioned to me that Fern Dell had some unusual water problems in 2 houses there, and also at AFI and the Immaculate Heart High School. Since both the Park and the city are desperate for water, this was interesting enough. But it got much hotter when Gerry Hans quoted Mike Ebert’s book above! (I really have to get that book. Several people on the PROS committee have quoted things from there, and it’s amazing how TMZ-like some of the stories are!) What if this IS that healthy spa/fountain that bubbled up back then? Wow!
What I didn’t include in the LAW post: they still have that original underground fountain of youth water in 3 spigots at the Ranger Station! It did go bad in the 60’s – they suspect from runoff from lawns, so I don’t know if it’s potable now, as LADWP never got back to me (SURPRISE.)But I will let you know when/if they do. Because I will be the guinea pig and go get some of it if it’s not poisonous.