Off To See The Wizard Wells

The lure of the road sign that pointed northeast toward “Wizard Wells” finally became too much to ignore. I’ve seen that sign for years … and wondered about it … but I never took time to investigate. Curiosity got the better of us, so we detoured from Highway 114 in Jack County. You probably won’t find this “town” in the tourist guidebooks about Texas … it’s just another hidden gem in my neck of the woods.

The Wizard Well

The Wizard Well

The historical marker at this well proclaims that the Kiowa Indians first discovered the healing properties of the mineral waters in the area. In the 1870s, a fellow by the name of George Washington Vineyard settled here. He dug a well, but didn’t use the water for drinking. I suppose the minerals made it have a strange taste. However, Vineyard discovered that those mineral waters “miraculously” healed ulcers on his legs! Shazaaam!

Word got around about that healing, and before you know it everyone with any kind of ailment was “off to see the wizard.” At first, the travelers camped along nearby Bean Creek, but it didn’t take long before an enterprising entrepreneur put in a hotel and bath house. Before the end of the century the population of “Vineyard,” as the town was then called, had increased dramatically. The town had three hotels, several bath houses, an assortment of churches, a newspaper, a school, a sawmill, the blacksmith shop, and a post office!

Looking at it these days, you wouldn’t guess that. There are the remnants of the bath house, the well, the dilapidated ruins of the general store, and one of the hotels that has been made into a house. Perhaps about 60 people live there. I suppose the town dwindled because the Rock Island Railroad by-passed it in 1898. Losing traffic from the railroads seemed to spell the death of many a small Texas town.

I was enchanted by a meditation labyrinth that has been constructed beside the well. I bet they didn’t have that in the 1800s.

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Is it worth a four mile detour? We liked Wizard Wells, but you would just have to make the trip and decide for yourself.

  6 comments for “Off To See The Wizard Wells

  1. October 26, 2009 at 8:48 am

    This sounds like something I’d like to see. I’ve pulled off the road or detoured off my route many times to see what as there when I’d see a sign. Maybe it’s just the words that lured me in. There is a place in Hot Springs, SD called Kidney Springs. It is a similar well, with stories of healing water from the spring. People still fill their bottles and drink for healing.
    Thanks for the story.
    Hey, do we get to see the storytelling video? Hope it all went well for you.

    Peace.
    .-= Spadoman´s last blog ..Los Dios de Los Muertos, 2009 =-.

    • October 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm

      Kidney Springs? Hmmm. Sorry, Joe … Wizard Wells would be more magnetic for me. I liked all the New Age Business going on in the neighborhood of the old well there. The video? I have no idea when they will get it edited, but I hope to have something that doesn’t embarrass me to show to my friends. I’ll let you know.

  2. Mel
    October 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I LOVE it when you write about your detours! Another place to add to my list of things to see in the state I live in.

    P.S. – my CD arrived today, YAY!!!!

    • October 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm

      I’m so glad you got the CD! Wizard Wells was fun, though I’m not sure it was a “destination” for just everyone :lol:. Probably the pictures I put on Posterous is about all anyone really want to see.

  3. Mel
    October 26, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    We don’t really “do” destinations. We head somewhere and see what we can find when we get there. We took a trip to Italy and DID NOT stay in the tourist areas. We rented a car and took off. Saw so much more that way and we need to do the same in state. Actually, my oldest daughter and I are planning a “trip”. She’s going to come to Houston and we are playing tourist, just like if she didn’t grow up here and I don’t still live here! Can’t wait!

  4. October 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Oh. My. Gods. That labyrinth is soooo incredible!!! They are all wonderful pics, Shelly. What a beautiful and magickal place.
    .-= Thorne´s last blog ..Page Rank Nightmares =-.

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