Florida’s Healing Waters

Author and historian Rick Kilby returns to the Matheson to share about his latest book, “Florida’s Healing Waters: Gilded Age Mineral Springs, Seaside Resorts & Health Spas.” Many of the images in the book came from the Matheson’s collections!

Registration is free via Zoom Webinar: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XxRmFFS3Q82CEyqK6m6uhg. The program will also be streamed live via the Matheson’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mathesonhistorymuseum).

Filled with rare photographs, vintage postcards and advertisements, and fascinating descriptions from over 100 years ago, “Florida’s Healing Waters” spotlights a little-known time in Florida history when tourists poured into the state in search of good health.

Rick Kilby explores the Victorian belief that water caused healing and rehabilitation, tracing the history of “taking the waters” from its origins in the era of Enlightenment. Nineteenth-century Americans traveled from afar to bathe in the outdoors and soak up the warm climate of Florida. Here, with more than 1,000 freshwater springs, 1,300 miles of coastline, and 30,000 lakes, water was an abundant resource.

Today, these splendid health spas and elaborate bathing facilities have been lost, replaced by recreational amenities for a culture more about sun and fun than physical renewal. In this book, Kilby emphasizes the value of honoring and preserving the natural features of the state in the face of continual development. He reminds us that Florida’s water is still a life-giving treasure.