lesser known springs – minniska and hobo
Minniska Spring was opened in 1897 by Waukesha grocer Henry W. Kent. The spring was located in the midst of Hazel Grove, a picnic park with carriage trails and huge oak trees. The bottling plant was located along the nearby railroad tracks, and the water was sold under the label names Hazel and Cybelle. 1
The simple stone basin of Minniska Spring has been restored and covered, and has become a geocache location.
The Hobo Spring historical marker reads:
“This spring, so named because it was used by the transients who came off the nearby Soo Line railroad, is one of the few original reminders of Waukesha’s 19th century springs and resort era.
A century ago, Waukesha was known as “Spring City” because of its many springs. Records show the presence of more than 50 springs within the City of Waukesha and more were scattered around the country.
Two springs were located here in Frame Park, Hobo and Asahel (later called Orchard Spring). Both are shown on the 1891 map of Waukesha, although Hobo is not named. Towering trees formed the roof for both springs, and the slower pace characteristic of that earlier time is still found here ah Hobo Spring.”
Hobo Spring is an open spring surrounded by concentric rings of limestone. A small central ring surrounds the pool, a ring of flagstone and a low wall (which acts as a retaining wall) encircles this. Never covered by an elaborate springhouse, it is an example of the simple “common person” spring.