Juan Ponce de Leon reached the shores of Florida on April 2, 1513. His fabled quest of finding the Fountain of Youth remains inextricably tied to the image of the Sunshine State and part of the state’s appeal enticing tourists and residents alike to come rejuvenate in Florida.
Featuring reproductions of eye-catching postcards, vintage advertisements, vibrant photos, and other “Ponceabilia,” Finding the Fountain of Youth reveals how Florida itself has been transformed into a veritable Fountain of Youth, a paradisiacal playground, a utopia of rejuvenating springs and beautiful mermaids.
Moving beyond advertising and kitsch, author Rick Kilby carries the story into the present day, addressing the very real problem of protecting Florida’s fragile springs and aquifers reminding us that more than the environmental damage is at stake.
Through five hundred years of history, the search for water has defined Florida. That is no less true for today’s residents as it was for Ponce de Leon himself. Finding the fountain of Youth is a delightful reminder of journeys past- and a peek at those to come.
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the Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Department of State.