John Leslie, Lee County Board of Supervisors foreman, watches the progress of crews excavating a failed culvert on Commerce Street in Tupelo. Located in front of the Lee County Juvenile Detention Center, the massive excavation was likely prompted by flow from artesian springs that once formed Gum Pond, which was across the street, next to the railroad.
The area known as Gum Pond was just a low lying marsh area, in a flood plain until Tupelo acquired its second railroad which would run north and south, between 1885 and 1907. That was when workers dug into that marshy area, intent to remove dirt to create a bed for the north-south railroad and they discovered five artesian wells and Gum Pond was born.
An artesian aquifer contains groundwater under positive pressure and once the dirt was removed the lake quickly filled. Gum Pond was approximately 20 acres and six-feet deep. Conventional knowledge holds that artesian waters cannot be stopped; where they exist, they can be a permanent problem.
A story about this phenomenon will be presented by Courier publisher Jim Clark in a future issue.
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