23 May Behind the Story: The Fountain of Youth
Historic preservation planner Chris Berger answers a few questions regarding his article in the Spring 2018 issue of the SCA Journal, “Fountain of Youth-Themed Cyclorama Awaits New Life in Florida”
What inspired you to write this article? I was concerned that the Cyclorama and Spa building would be overlooked and lost to redevelopment. I had recently completed a technical report for the Florida State Historic Preservation Office that concluded the two buildings were architecturally and historically significant when I started writing the article, and I wanted to spread the word out on their importance.
What was the biggest surprise you uncovered during your research? I was impressed that architect Jack West went to such effort to reflect the size and shape of the springs when designing the footprints of the two buildings. The hourglass-shaped Spa building is a scale cross section of the springs pool, and the Cyclorama is circular–just like the pool. Architect Joe King pointed this out to me, and I was amazed at this level of detail that would only be noticed when viewing an aerial of the site.
Anything you’d like to add? The Spa building and Cyclorama are remarkably intact Old Florida attractions, and I hope they can be restored and sympathetically integrated into the Warm Mineral Springs master plan.
Where can people find out more? The Warm Mineral Springs website has more information about the archaeological treasures found in the depths below.
AUTHOR INFO: Chris Berger is a historic preservation planner. He researched the history of Warm Mineral Springs and evaluated the architectural significance of the Cyclorama and Spa as part of a work project.