FITTSTOWN, OKLAHOMA — There are hundreds of artesian springs in this region of south central Oklahoma.
They bubble straight out of the ground in a 500 square mile area called the Arbuckle- Simpson Aquifer.
Carl Allen knows one of those springs best.
“It’s the northern most outcropping of that aquifer,” he states.
He comes to this spot near Fittstown at least once a month to check on it even though the water here has been gushing out of the ground steadily for thousands of years.
“Typically it’s around 8 to 11 million gallons per day,” says Allen. “It could peak to 20 million gallons and dip to as low as 3 million gallons per day.”
A hundred years ago there was a mill on this spot.
Local families brought their grain here and left with the mail from Frank’s Store.
On hot days they would brave the cold water for a swim.
Carl mentions other swimming spots in the area, “30 Foot Hole, Preacher’s Hole. This was actually open to the public at one point in time.”
But in 1911 city leaders in Ada, nearly 15 miles up the highway, saw this spring for what it was.
They bought the mill, laid some wood pipe water mains, and began drinking from Oklahoma’s largest spring.
“One can only imagine what the city of Ada would be like without this water supply,” he says.
Allen is now the Public Works Director for the City of Ada.
He and his crew are responsible for overseeing what is arguably the community’s most valuable treasure.
The water at the spring source still comes out of the ground by itself, no pumps.
Ada doesn’t operate any reservoirs or lakes.
Most of Pontotoc County’s drinking water comes from right here.
Allen says, “It’s very clean and pure, pretty much, coming right out of the ground.”
You can’t swim in the spring any longer.
The site sits behind a series of locked gates guarded like treasure; so clear it’s blue, an Oklahoma gem, the largest of its kind, and a gift that keeps right on giving.