Just up the hill from Colorado Springs is Manitou Springs, which was built up around a series of natural mineral springs beginning in 1872. Eight free-flowing fountains are scattered around the town now. Most of the city is included in the Manitou Springs Historic District.
My first visit to Hoover Dam, and it’s incredible to see both how big the dam is and how low the water level is behind the dam. In December of 2021, the water elevation of Lake Mead was 1,065 feet above sea level – almost 200 feet lower than its maximum level, and the lowest level since the 1930s, when the lake basin was still being filled.
Around the turn of the last century, James Reuel Smith documented and photographed the natural springs and wells of New York City. Why? Well, he was born into a wealthy family and was clearly interested in fresh water.
Most were in the northern part of the city where there was less development and drinking water piped in through the Croton Aqueduct was not as readily available. Smith rode his bike to these locations, and that’s presumably his ride in the photo below, taken in 1897. His kit includes a couple of leather bags attached to the bike frame as well as a rear rack, perhaps used to hold his camera. You can see a communal tin cup hanging on a branch of the tree growing next to the spring, as well as the flat rocks laid around the spring opening.
Smith’s interest in water sources was not limited to New York. In 1922 he published Springs and Wells in Greek and Roman Literature, their Legends and Locations. Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx: New York City at the End of the Nineteenth Century was published posthumously in 1938.
As in, you are forbidden to drive a car on it, but you can bike, walk, or ride a horse on it. The former Wissahickon Turnpike, the main drag through Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia, was built in the 1820s and got its current name in the 1920s when it was closed to vehicles.
On a pleasantly cool weekend morning there were a lot of people in the park, meaning we had to drive around a bit before finding a parking spot. The gravel path is wide and the people spread out so it was a leisurely 8 mile ride.