Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Top of Belle Plaine's Jumbo Well


Take a look at these smiling boys. They stand on a monument to a monster that still lurks below the city's surface. In 1886, at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 8th Street, in 42N's Belle Plaine, Iowa, a water well drilling crew tapped into a forceful artesan well. The Iowa River aquifer sent some 30,000 to 50,000 gallons per minute into the air along with 500 to 1000 railroad cars of sand downstream and chunks of petrified wood. News of the well spread quickly around the world. It became known as the Jumbo Well, the eighth natural wonder of the world! 

Thirteen months after the tapping of the ancient aquifer, the flow was finally capped with pipes and tons of concrete. Almost a hundred years later a geologic crew retapped this location to survey the current underground situation. While the recapping only took hours, the project manager commented that they were five minutes away from making Good Morning America.

This afternoon these boys helped identify the actual site of the well (mid-intersection at 8th and 8th.) The young Belle Plainians were very much aware of old Jumbo. The orange shirt boy already studied Jumbo in class, and claimed that he knew all about it.