It was installed in 1945 to serve picnickers, just another of the hundreds of water pumps erected in the forest preserves of Cook County.
It is a hand-operated pump that draws water from an aquifer. Many local residents believe the water has magical properties, improving health and vigor. Some believe the pump's water extends the life of anyone who drinks from it regularly, leading to the nickname "Chicago's fountain of youth." The pump is the most used of over 300 pumps maintained by the Forest Preserve Department of Cook County, necessitating yearly repairs. The pump handle was briefly removed in 1974 due to impurities but restored in 1975 after the water cleared.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claims that the water from the pump has any magical properties. However, many people swear by the water, and the pump remains a popular destination for people seeking a healthier lifestyle.
People say it has a specific taste and is unlike other waters. And it's not. It's the best water in the world! You've heard it's magic, right? I don't know if it is or if it has the rejuvenating qualities they say. But I don't try other pumps.
It has been said that the Pope blessed it. "Holy water — that's what they call it." In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited the Northwest Side of Chicago. The Pope's motorcade drove along Nagle and Milwaukee avenues and the Kennedy Expressway and barely slowed down.
Those who swear by the Chicago's fountain of youth pump have said a lot of things: You hear it tastes better than tap water; it keeps colder for longer; it contains holistic qualities; it's good for heart and teeth; it's unfiltered and therefore not chlorinated or fluoridated; the water from this pump will keep you young an unnaturally long time.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claims that the water from this pump has magical properties.
The pump is located at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Cumberland Avenue. It is open from dawn to dusk. There is no fee to use the pump. If you're interested in visiting the pump, it's recommended that you go during the week. Remember to bring your own bottles to fill with water.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.