ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Construction will soon begin on a new public plaza and art installation in downtown Arlington to commemorate an often-forgotten landmark in the city's history.
The 'Old Mineral Well' was built in 1893.
"It was just a part of downtown," said Geraldine Mills, director of the Arlington Historical Society and Fielder Museum. "Just as much as the drugstores or the ice cream parlor was."
For nearly 60 years, life in Arlington revolved around the mineral well.
"Between Center Street and Main street, right in the middle of the street there," Mills said. "So cars had to go around it. Wagons had to go around it."
The apparent healing powers of the water initially drew people from all over North Texas.
"I think it operated for several years, selling the bottles of mineral water that cured everything from cancer to athlete's foot," said Mills.
Long after the last bottles were sold, the well remained the place to meet for parades, pep rallies, and everyday town events.
"It was important to everyone here," she said. "It was where you could see everybody on a Saturday… Then it became a traffic hazard as Arlington grew, and they took it down."
The mineral well was capped and paved over in 1951, and mostly forgotten about.
"We definitely don't want it to be lost," said Mitali Mandlekar, an Arlington Parks project manager and landscape architect. "It's a very special story that needs to be told."
The City of Arlington is tapping into its history to build the new Mineral Well Public Plaza between City Hall and the downtown library. It will have a large water feature, a 40-foot clock tower, and inviting seating areas for people to gather, once more, in the heart of the city.
"It's the mineral well for contemporary times," Mandlekar said.
Construction is expected to begin this fall and take about six to seven months. The goal is to open the plaza in the spring of 2023.
The project is funded by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.
To learn more about the mineral well and other aspects of Arlington's history, you can visit the Fielder Museum at 1616 W Abram St, Arlington, TX 76013.
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