Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Checking Out the Competition

My great grandfather William August Lundy was pretty industrious. He farmed, owned orange groves, had a commercial boat landing on the Manatee River near Bradenton, Florida and was a real estate developer, selling lots for farms and houses. I recently found he also did ok investing in Texas oil land.
Tampa Tribune August 12, 1902, page 8

But his most interesting business was the warm spring adjacent to the Manatee River he called the lost Fountain of Youth and marketed as Ponce de Leon Mineral Springs.

He may have been even better at business than we thought. I found this newspaper article from 1902, just five months before he died that showed he wasn't averse to checking out the competition.
The article talks about the trip he, his oldest son and their wives made to see the Glenn Springs Resort in South Carolina. At the time it was a 75 year old resort and hotel built around a sulphur spring.

It had been marketed successfully as a cure for all kinds of ailments and even wounded troops from the Mexican War had been sent there to recover.

They also sold bottled water, just as William Lundy was doing with his spring in Florida.

According to an article written by the University of South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program, "Glenn Springs Water claimed to cure an impressive list of maladies, such as "general debility, torpor of the liver, dyspepsia, liver complaints, female complaints, malarial diseases, jaundice, hemorrhoids, and rheumatism."

I don't know if William Lundy was actually checking out the resort to see if he could copy some of their success back home or if he just needed a vacation.

Whatever his motive he didn't have time to make any changes to his Fountain of Youth venture. He died soon after getting back home and the land was sold to settle his estate.

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