Sumter County's Bored Well
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Livingston's Bored Well boasted mineral springs, to which desperately ill people from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas flocked swearing to the water's beneficial healing aspects.
The well was begun in 1854 on the courthouse square. The boring was done by tethering a mule to a long pole extending from the above-ground portion of an auger. The mule walked in circles, turning the auger & boring deeper into the ground. This took three years, and at a depth of just over 1,000 feet, an "overflow" well was reached.
A quote from J.M. Powell of Lowndesboro, AL, in 1885, says, "I take pleasure in certifying to the curative influence of your Artesian Water. I visited your town July, 1884, almost a dead man, suffering from chronic dyspepsia and enlargement of the liver. I had been an invalid so long that I had lost all hope of ever being well again. But after one month's stay in your town, and using the famous Artesian Water, my health began to improve very much...and to-day I am a well man."
Another quote: Dr. D.T. Morrow of Gadsden, AL, wrote in 1883, "My son, Thomas Morrow, eighteen years old, had become so much afflicted...that I began to fear a fatal result. From weighing 150 pounds he had become emaciated to 115 pounds. He was unable to retain any kind of food...and was so debilitated as to be unable to walk or take any kind of exercise without great fatigue, accompanied by a sense of suffocation and palpitation to the heart. He had also become very despondent, and life seemed a burden to him." After sending his son to Livingston, for some of the healing waters, he says that "at the end of two months he was entirely restored to health...able to hunt, work and go as the other boys."
So many people came that shortly after the Civil War, the Artesian Hotel was built near the courthouse and remained until into the 20th Century. Water from the well continued to be used as drinking water until the 1980's, when the flow was stopped for renovations.
A covered pavilion, closely resembling a Chinese pagoda, was built in 1857. In 1924, it was replaced with a brick structure, which collapsed during roof repairs in January, 1999.
The bored well pavilion has since been rebuilt, resembling the original structure. It is located on the courthouse square in downtown Livingston.