Houston's Miracle Water building.
Where the drippy, tasty magic happens.

Houston's Miracle Water: Angel-Approved

Field review by the editors.

New Market, Tennessee

In 1931 a doctor told Bill A. Houston that his ailing kidneys were about to kill him.

A cage protects the pump. Water fountain provides free samples.
A cage protects the pump. Water fountain provides free samples.

Supernatural forces told Bill something very different.

Bill was at home, suffering, he later said, when he had a vision. He was told by either an angel or a mysterious voice (accounts vary) to walk out his door to a specific spot near his house, mark it with a stick, and then drill a well exactly 252 feet deep. The water from that well, he was assured, would cure him.

Bill was the owner of the local general store and known as a good businessman. But now his neighbors thought he was nuts. The men he hired to drill the well struck water at 90 feet, then at 160 feet. Bill told them to seal off that water and keep drilling. At 252 feet the well struck water again, just as the vision said it would. Bill drank the water. A few weeks later his baffled doctor told him that he was cured.

Bill A. Houston and his miraculous mineral well.
Bill A. Houston and his miraculous mineral well.

Bill wanted to share his miracle water with the world. He installed a pump, surrounded it with a large well house, and bottled and sold the water as "healing." Testimonials from grateful guzzlers said that the water worked wonders for gallstones, diabetes, eczema, high blood pressure, nervous tension, joint pain, anemia, acne, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism. Some even said that the water healed their sick pets.

Bill was convinced of the water's curative powers -- but he was violating anti-quack-medicine laws by advertising that, so in 1945 he had to stop. Mail-order sales slumped. Bottling and shipping ceased. Customers still wanted to buy the water, but now they had to visit in person to get it.

Houston's Mineral Water.Wall painting reveals where the water comes from.
Wall painting reveals where the water comes from.

In the early 1970s stewardship of the well fell to Bill's grandson, Bill C. Houston. "People were begging me not to close it," he told us. "They'd bring every conceivable kind of container and make a big mess." Bill C. earned enough money to clean up the well house, upgrade the equipment and plumbing, and put in a water fountain for free samples. He still keeps the house and surrounding grounds looking pretty much as they did in 1931.

Customer decants his water into glass jugs: the preferred container.
Customer decants his water into glass jugs: the preferred container.

"I hope when people come here that they don't expect some big enormous operation," said Bill C. "It's so primitive, folksy, and small."

We were surprised by the steady stream of customers arriving at the well. People bring their own bottles and take as much water as they like, dropping 50 cents per gallon into a metal box (It's an honor system). One woman said that the water helped her father with bladder problems. A man told us that it helped his kidneys. Another man said he drank it for the taste, but if it healed him he was fine with that.

Bill C., who was born in 1951, said that he'd been drinking the water his entire life and never had a tooth cavity. He said that he avoids drinking any other water, because to him it tastes bad. "We make zero claims that it does anything," he said of the water, "but people will come up to me and tell me their stories. All. The. Time." One regular customer, he said, visited every six months, working through the night to fill his bottles, 350 gallons per trip (He lived into his nineties). Another uses the water for his giant aquarium full of exotic fish.

Houston's Mineral Water.
Special liquid flows from this tap.

Bill C. has the water tested several times a year. It's free of harmful contaminants, and high in what Bill has called "an oddball mixture of minerals" -- fluorine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, zinc. There's no telltale sign of any miracle curative element, but, then, how would a test made by mortals even recognize such a thing?

The water's popularity has risen in recent years as part of the healthy (but not healing) foods movement. Bill C. recommends that customers use glass bottles. The water, he says, loses its good, sweet "smooth" taste in plastic. People decanting the water into old plastic milk jugs makes him cringe.

And Bill A. Houston? He lived 22 healthy years after his vision, drinking his miraculous water. He did eventually die, but only after he accidentally whacked himself in the head with a pry bar.

Also see: Water: Wonder Temples and Miracle Springs

Houston's Miracle Water: Angel-Approved

Houston's Mineral Water

Address:
1005 W. Old AJ Highway, New Market, TN
Directions:
From US Hwy 11E/Andrew Johnson Hwy, turn south at the stoplight onto Churchview St. Drive past the church to the T in the road. Turn right onto Old AJ Hwy. You'll see the sign for Houston's on the left. Park behind the building. Bring clean containers.
Hours:
Daily 8-8 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
865-475-3286
Admission:
Pay by honor system.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Islamic Building Christmas StoreIslamic Building Christmas Store, Sevierville, TN - 13 mi.
Floyd Garrett's Muscle Car MuseumFloyd Garrett's Muscle Car Museum, Sevierville, TN - 16 mi.
Dolly Parton StatueDolly Parton Statue, Sevierville, TN - 16 mi.
In the region:
Kayak Ranch, Bryson City, NC - 50 mi.

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