By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
In the fall of 2010, Joann and I made a trip to Crawford County, Wisconsin. We often start our fall travels with a trip to the apple orchards there for apple cider doughnuts and fresh apples.
After our visit to the orchard, we continued our wanderings and came upon an artesian well next to the road. The water poured from a pipe into an old crusty bathtub, and next to the bathtub was a hand-painted sign that said “Jeg-Skal-Ha-En-Glas-Von - Takk! “. Hanging on either side of the sign were two mugs.
We stopped for photos, but didn’t have a drink of the water. Maybe it was the looks of the bathtub that put us off.
Later that same month, returning from a one-day trip to Illinois, I directed us to a town that I had noted also had an artesian well. I do so much research for our travels that sometimes I can’t remember how I found out about things on my list. This was one of those times. All I knew was that the well was in town.
As we entered town on the main drag, there was a sign pointing to the well, but we couldn’t tell if the sign pointed down the road we were near or into what appeared to be a driveway.
We turned on the road, which climbed up a rather steep hill. Once we reached the top without seeing any more signs, we decided we must have picked wrong. We went back down the hill and turned into what we thought was a driveway. It went back to a small parking lot where several cars were parked with people filling jugs of water at the well.
As people filled their jugs of water, they would pack them into their car. As soon as they would leave, another car would pull in with more jugs to fill.
This well has been producing thousands of gallons of water a day since 1927. The town even uses this as their water source. Next to the pump house was a spigot where the water was flowing and people were filling their jugs.
The small park has a gazebo, a waterfall, a waterwheel, and a covered bridge. There are also walking trails going back into the woods. While there was a crowd filling their jugs, Joann walked around taking pictures.
Before we left, we emptied the small amount of water that we had left in a gallon jug and filled the jug and our water bottles at the spigot. Then we continued towards home sipping our cool, clear water.
As I prepared to share these photos, we tried to get the Norwegian sign (from the well with the bathtub) translated. Joann even emailed a friend with a relative in Norway. The closest we could come was “I must have a glass – Thanks!” In Norwegian, vin means wine, and in German, von means from, so we’re not quite sure which they meant, other than to try a glass of water.