Marble Hill: Mineral Well

    Even though Marble Hill is surrounded by creeks, the town had a long history of contaminated water supplies. There were few wells in the area, and what did exist usually caused sickness, including typhoid. Many citizens dug their own cisterns to make up for the lack of public water. However, this all changed for the better in 1905.

    City officials decided to try drilling a new public well by the Bollinger County Courthouse. This would be a convenient, centralized location for residents. After painstakingly drilling through six feet of solid rock, they continued to dig another 92 feet down into the earth. The town declared this new well free to use by all residents, and they were welcome to carry off water in their own buckets to their hearts’ content.

    This new source of public water brought in more than just water, to the townspeople’s surprise — it also brought a miracle. In 1909, a few years after regular use of the well, many people began to notice fewer cases of typhoid, rheumatism, and malaria in Marble Hill. Curiosity aroused, town officials sent the University of Missouri a sample of the water to be tested. What they found confirmed the rumors: the water was alkaline, contained health-boosting minerals, and had fewer traces of sulphites and chloride than most water.

    The result of this discovery was an exciting health-kick. The town advertised its mineral well’s seemingly magical properties, and many people from outside the town came to visit. Marble Hill came to be known as a small-scale health resort of sorts, where people would stay to drink the water and relax. This no doubt brought in more students to the nearby Will Mayfield College, as well. The mineral well was used until 1947, when Marble Hill was officially changed from a township to a state-incorporated town, and a new city waterworks system was constructed.