Artesia Chapter, National Society of the
American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR), of Belle
Plaine, Iowa, was organized June 28,
1946. The chapter is named for an
artesian basin that runs under the town.
On August 26, 1886, community leaders decided
to have a well dug for fire protection. The
driller’s work took a turn for the worse when
he attempted to use the force of the water to
enlarge the two-inch bore to three
inches. In a short time, the three-inch
hole became three feet. The water
fountain shot five feet into the air. No
one knows the exact amount of water that
escaped, but it is estimated that 30,000 to
50,000 gallons of water shot out in the
beginning. Quickly, the flow began to
lessen. Two weeks later, a University of
Chicago professor figured about 2,000 gallons
per minute flowed into Belle Plaine.
Along with the water came a lot of sand. It is
estimated that 500 to 1,000 carloads shot out
of the three-foot hole. Fossil wood and
large stones were thrown out as well.
For thirteen months, locals and professionals
worked to get the 193-foot-deep Jumbo Well
under control. Today, on the corner of
Eighth Street and Eighth Avenue, sits a large
granite rock as an historical
marker. In 1955, the Artesia Chapter of
the Daughters of the American Revolution added
a bronze plaque on the rock that notes the
location of the famous Jumbo Well.
Members of our chapter attend Jumbo Well
Ceremonies at Jumbo Well Days in
September. We also attend the local
Veterans Day Program at Belle Plaine High
School in November. At this program we
give out the DAR Good Citizens Award to a
local high school student.
We celebrate Constitution Week in September by
placing displays in the Belle Plaine Museum
and the Belle Plaine Library, and we give
items to the Belle Plaine Nursing Home.
Members also volunteer at the Veterans
Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.