On our visit to the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, we made sure to go inside the Inn there. It was built at great expense by one Edward Ball, part of the du Pont family and quite an impressive investor. He was also a jackass sack of shit, but that's one for the history books. If you judge a man merely by his ability to make money (as most do judge here in the good old US of A), then he was a fantastic individual, leaving assets numbered in the billions by the time he died.
One of the things he did was buy the deepest fresh water spring on Earth: Wakulla Springs. He also bought the 4,000 acres around it. Then he set about building a 27-room fine inn where folk with lots of money could come to vacation. Once he'd completed the place (which included dynamiting part of the river so that guests could access the inn from downstream), he built a cast iron fence across that river to keep out those who couldn't afford to stay there. The spring and its environs were to be enjoyed only by the rich.
Eventually, as with most of the great springs of Florida, the property ended up in the hands of the state where it can now be enjoyed by everyone with four bucks to pay for admission. The facilities can now be enjoyed by just about everyone. In addition, since the land had remained as a resort for so many years, there are lots of old growth trees on the property and the forests are impressive, as is the wildlife.
Now that Carole and I have seen the inn and enjoyed the outdoor activities there, we want to go back to stay at the inn. The rates are reasonable for rooms filled with marble, hand carved features, and antique period furnishings.
The Inn at Wakulla Springs. Built by Edward Ball. Now owned by the state of Florida, and opened to the public.
The front entrance.
The soda counter. That's a single piece of marble. Complete with teenage bimbos at the far end. There's no bend in it, that being a photostitch anomaly.
The main lobby.
The cypress ceilings with hand-painted designs by German artisans.
Sitting area inside the Inn.
Fireplace in the lobby.
The dining room. Very, very nice!
This big guy was kind of like the local mascot at the Inn. But in 1966 some asswipe found his way onto the grounds and killed him. The gator had never bothered anyone, according to the plaque. But he was killed just the same. Well over 11 feet in length--he was a large alligator.
A taste of the forests outside in the 4,000 acres around the Inn.
The main springs and the swimming facilities.
A side hallway off the main lobby. Yeah, I know what you're thinking...I thought the same thing as soon as I stood there and looked down that way: