Schiller Park water pump being called 'Fountain of Youth' - FOX 32 News Chicago

Schiller Park water pump being called 'Fountain of Youth'

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Perhaps you've seen a line of cars on the side of Irving Park road in northwest suburban Schiller Park. It may look like they're giving away money, but it is free well water that has been attracting a crowd there for decades.

"This is great water," said one man while taking a drink.

For more than 50 years, Ron Zielinski has been coming to a hand-operated water pump in the Schiller Park woods forest preserve, just steps away from busy Irving Park road.

For the trip he's brought along four empty one-gallon containers.

"Other times there'll be ten, 15 cars here with people with 20 or 30 of these. Or ten or 15 of the big five gallon ones," said Zielinski.

Indeed this is the most popular pump among the 212 in the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Drinkers say the water tastes like spring water from Colorado or Poland.

"Well my parents tell me to do it, so I do it. I guess it's better than going to the store to get water," said Bart Stasik, another man using the pump.

Since it was installed in 1945, people have been coming from miles away to get what they call healthier water that tastes better.

"I think this is pure water. Lots of minerals and no chemicals," said a woman.

"Tastes good. They call it the fountain of youth. I see all kinds of people here," said David Franson.

That mystique prompted forest preserve officials to test the well water. They found it extremely rich in minerals, but low in iron content.

And because it comes from an underground aquifer, it doesn't contain the chlorine and fluoride you find in tap water.

"We drink one of these a week. Put it in one of them water coolers. I use it for tea, coffee and just drinking," added Franson.

Some locals get to the pump early in the morning in order to miss the long lines to fill their jugs with the cool water.

The water may not be magical, but getting something for free certainly is.

"I hope it never runs dry" said Franson while laughing.

FOX 32's Joanie Lum contributed to this story.

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