Urban springs are fascinating to me. In Florida, springs usually seem to be billed as "natural destinations" in rural and smaller towns, off the beaten path, or the source for our bottled water needs. There are a few intact springs within the Tampa City limits. However, most of these springs have been covered over and made part of a greater underground stormwater drainage system. One of these is Palma Ceia springs right off Bayshore Blvd. and Rubideaux in Fred Ball Park.
In the mid 1800s this spring was known for it's healing powers and people came to bathe in its waters. This fountain was erected in 1906 (as the inscription on both sides indicates) and is supplied by the spring itself. one of the few indications that an actual spring lies somewhere underfoot. A large pool was erected in 1928 to accomodate the growing population and number of tourists coming to the area.
In the 1940s County Commissioner Fred Ball persuaded the county to purchase the spring and the land surrounding it. As the decades wore on and water levels in the aquifer declined, the spring, pools and surrounding land fell into disrepair. Below is an aerial of the spring, pool (indicated by yellow arrow) , and surrounding land taken in 1958.
Improvement efforts for the park were started in 1988 by the Rose Garden Circle (more history here). The park today is beautiful boasting a gazebo, tall trees, a bench swing, and the beautiful fountain as its focal point. Below you can see the outfall trail from the spring and stormwater drains flowing into the bay.