LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) — A few miles off Highway 26, a gem of Lucedale history remains flowing on the side of Basin Central Road.
In 1939, a seismograph crew was in the area surveying for oil until they drilled a hole and water gushed back to the surface. From there, came the discovery of Lucedale’s best-flowing artesian well, flowing at 120 gallons per minute.
Artesian wells work when a sub-surface aquifer is drilled into, releasing the pressure inside. When the pressure is great enough, the water flows to the surface through the drilled hole without any pumping necessary.
Most aquifers can be breached at 100 feet below ground.
The water from Lucedale’s artesian wells comes from the Pascagoula Aquifer, which runs along the edge of Alabama, through Lucedale and up to Hattiesburg.
The well, which was originally in what is now the middle Basin Central Road, was moved to the side of the road where it now sits on private property.
“It’s one of the landmarks here in George County,” Henry Cochran, District 5 Supervisor, said.
The well was previously owned by a man named Ralph Fairley.
“He kept this open to the public,” Cochran said. “He could have bottled this water and made millions, but Ralph wanted to keep it to where the general public could have access to it.”
Cochran said Fairly called the well ‘The Fountain of Youth.’ Fairley died at the age of 93.
Although Fairley died in 2019, his family still owns the well and the property the well sits on. The family said they are happy to continue Fairley’s vision of providing natural, free, and safe-to-drink water to the community.
“Some of the local doctors back in the day would tell people to drink this water if you had kidney problems. It would help with kidney problems and all,” Cochran said.
The family asks that if members of the public choose to use the well, that their property is respected and kept clean.