Silurian Springs Waukesha
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member AuntieNae
N 43° 00.578 W 088° 13.371
16T E 400342 N 4762610
6th Magnitude 1 to 10 gal/min 63 to 630 mL/s
Waymark Code: WM30EV
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Date Posted: 01/20/2008
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Better Half
Views: 73


Silurian Spring is one of the few springs still flowing in the city AND the spring house is still standing!

David Smeaton, a local “jack if all trades,” began advertising Silurian Spring in 1874. James K. Anderson and William Haslage purchased the spring about 1879 and set about improving the business and grounds. Anderson was the son of a Canadian grocer who moved to Waukesha in 1869. He met and married Rosa Shipman, the daughter of a wealthy Chicago architect, Col. S.V. Shipman. The new buildings at the park contained reading rooms, bathing rooms, and space for a band.

There were also bottling and shipping facilities. Water was shipped in clay jars, wooden barrels, tin containers and glass bottles. The beautiful springhouse, which had a double row of iron columns supporting a roof of colorful glass, was constructed in 1880.

William Haslage died in 1882, and the spring was purchased by Luther McConnell of Chicago. Anderson continued on as manager, but his brother William took over a few years later. For the next few years, Anderson orchestrated fantastic concerts at the park. Fireworks, music, food, and of course, Silurian water and soda were featured. In 1891, Lee Ovitt took over as manager and, under his direction, a huge theatre was constructed in the park. It featured removable exterior walls that allowed an open air feeling. Prominent national touring companies played “The Casio”. In 1897, McConnell sold Silurian to Clinton Warren, a hotel magnate. Warren had a rocky tenure in Waukesha and threatened to close the park. He sold out in 1904. From that point on, Silurian slowly declined in stature. Frequent changes in ownership did not help, and the park began to deteriorate.

Local businessmen ran the company, and at different times Ginseng Beverages and Silver King products were produced. In the 1920’s, the present springhouse was constructed over the site. In the 1940’s, the city held a referendum and the citizens approved the purchase of the land around the spring as a park. In 1953, the springhouse received a makeover, and this was done again in 1976 and 1990. In 2008, it is currently slated for additional interior work.

CRYSTAL ROCK SPRING is also located in this very park. There was a bottling plant listed in directories from about 1903-1913. A concrete bunker near the present playground marks the location of this spring.

Public or Private Land?: Public

Public Land Fees?: Located in the City of Waukesha Spring Park, parking streetside (watch for no parking signs) or in the YMCA parking lot

Private Land access?: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the springs no GPS necessary along with your observations of the spring. What wildlife you saw if any and the condition of the springs. Water level was high, low. The area was clean, trashy ect. Any other knowledge or experiences you have had with this paticular spring that would help document it's history.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Rock Chalk visited Silurian Springs Waukesha 08/13/2023 Rock Chalk visited it
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