Florida writer Rick Kilby is making a presentation on his 2020 book, “Florida’s Healing Waters: Gilded Age Mineral Springs, Seaside Resorts, and Health Spas,” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15. It will take place at Heller Hall, 21 E. Plant St., Winter Garden. Kilby also will sign copies of his book.
Kilby explores the Victorian belief that water was the source of healing and rehabilitation, tracing the history of “taking the waters” from its early origins in Europe. Nineteenth-century Americans traveled from afar to bathe in the outdoors and soak up the warm climate of Florida. With more than 1,000 freshwater springs, 1,300 miles of coastline and 30,000 lakes, water has been an abundant resource in the Sunshine State throughout its history. One of the region’s favorite freshwater bathing spots was Clay Springs, now Wekiwa Springs State Park.
Kilby is an Orlando-based writer and graphic designer whose book received the silver medal for Florida nonfiction from the Florida Book Awards and the Florida Historical Society’s Stetson Kennedy Award. His first book, “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de León and Florida’s Magical Waters,” won a Florida Book Award in the Visual Arts category. His article about Florida’s Healing Waters is included in the new compilation from Florida Humanities, Once Upon a Time in Florida: Stories of Life in the Land of Promises.