Zipping along Pilottown Road in Lewes, you might pass right by this structure without noticing that it marks the Fountain of Youth, long sought after as a cure for aging. Better than Botox, more lasting than lifts, with a bigger impact than implants — a chance to be young again. For thousands of years, people searched for the fountain that could restore youth to anyone who drank or bathed in its waters. Ponce de León was supposedly searching for the Fountain of Youth when he explored Florida in 1513.
Dutch settlers discovered this spring in 1631, and its water was used by people living nearby for many years. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that those who partook of its waters remained youthful and never died, although that could explain the crowds at Irish Eyes.
The structure that marks the Fountain of Youth was built by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce in 1937. It used to have a sign that read “Ye Olde Fountain of Youth. Tis said this spring contains the magic elixir of youth and longevity and that whoever drinks therefrom is impelled to return again. First used by Dutch settlers in 1631. Restored in 1937.”
At one time, a rare, leftward-spiral conch shell cup hung from the structure and drinking from it was thought to boost the fountain’s regenerative powers. These days, you might have to fight a frog for the stagnant water, which is no longer safe to drink.