Artesian Well – Rural Fond du Lac Wisconsin
Artesian Well – Rural Fond du Lac Wisconsin
Artesian Well Fond du Lac Wisconsin

Driving along a rural country road in Fond du Lac County, we rolled up on a dilapidated wooden shack beckoning us to stop for a cool drink. An artesian well located inside offers thirsty travelers a cold, refreshing swig of water straight from mother earth. 

The artesian well is at 7138 Triple T Road near Mount Calvary in Forest, offering water from a stainless steel spigot. The well operates on the honor system, and visitors contribute to a locked cash box anchored to an interior wall. 

Mystery abounds about this roadside attraction, with no indication of who built the stand and why. We sought out some local history, but most of the original landowners in that area of Mount Calvary are long since gone. Someone erected a hut, installed a concrete floor, and asked for contributions. We could find no indications about who that person may have been. 

Inside the shack is a sign: "Artesian drinking water, lab-tested, DNR approved." (We can attest to "lab-tested" because our Labrador, and a Chinook too, tasted and enjoyed the water.) The Wisconsin DNR labels the well is a Transient Non-Community Public water system. That description is a fancy way to say this artesian well serves a transient population of at least 25 people for 60 days of the year. We were three people and two dogs on the day we discovered the well.

Posters for two companies are inside the rustic walls: "Duck, Duck, Goose Water Corporation" and Three Lakelettes Artesian Spring Water." A quick Dr. Google search shows nothing on these business names. If we get back that way, I may put together a poster to leave behind.

Artesian wells allow water that has traveled through porous rocks from a higher elevation to rise to the surface. The well appears to defy gravity as pressure that builds up between the rock layers finds its way into open air. 

If you're concerned about safety, this well is inspected annually by the Wisconsin DNR's Drinking Water and Groundwater Program. It receives a complete sanitary survey every five years from the Fond Du Lac County Health Department. The Triple T well has not tested positive for bacteria in its history, and nitrate levels are within federal and state standards.

Fond du Lac has so many artesian wells that it earned the nickname Fountain City. According to the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, the first artesian fountain gushed in 1846 at Main Street and Western Avenue. Once the "cold and good quality" water escaped the confines of the earth, it produced 1,000 gallons of water every hour. Workers dug a ditch to a sawmill to carry away the surplus water.

The artesian wells around Fond du Lac have been renowned for yielding magnetic water with curative properties. Hunter's Magnetic Saline Fountain Water claimed to cure rheumatism, neuralgia, dyspepsia, and many other health problems.

We happened on this well as a random countryside drive after the dog show on the way to a supper club, but having a taste of history is worth the visit if you're in the area.