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The Arcadian Mineral spring was opened in 1884 by James K. Anderson. It was located at the corner of Arcadian and Hartwell Ave. at the foot of the hill, where a gas station now stands. Arcadian spring became a popular attraction in Waukesha during the late 19th century when people would travel to Waukesha to partake in its abundant natural mineral springs. Arcadian was eventually bought out by Roxo, another Waukesha spring business. The original Arcadian spring was eventually closed and torn down, but Roxo continued the Arcadian name for a while. Roxo would go on to become one of the longest lasting spring businesses in Waukesha. 

Visitors at Arcadian Spring

Sky, Building, Temple, Tree

The Arcadian Springhouse

Cloud, Plant, Sky, Building

Arcadian Spring with Red Roof depiction

Arcadian Spring with Red Roof depiction

Roxo Bottling Works in 1946

Mass production, Cooking, Factory, Machine

James K. Anderson was a local magnate in the spring business around Waukesha. After working as the manager of Silurian spring, Anderson opened his own spring in 1884 at the foot of the hill on the corner of Arcadian and Hartwell Avenue, named Arcadian spring. Anderson constructed a handsome springhouse to protect the spring water and a limestone bottling plant as well. In 1885, a small booklet was produced by the company to promote the water. This booklet gave a detailed description of the water and bottling process. The water was carried to the bottling house by its own pressure, drawn by solid block tin pipes from the heart of the spring. The grounds around the spring were illuminated by electric lights as early as 1888. 

Anderson sold the spring to Henry Phelps in 1891, whose family added to the plant and continually upgraded the equipment. Arcadian water was bottled and used in ginger ale and many other beverages.

Phelps sold the spring in 1918 to Albert Trostel of Milwaukee, who owned another Waukesha spring water business, the Roxo Company. Roxo began in 1907 and originally used water from Sotarian spring at the corner of Hartwell Ave. and McCall street. 

The combined companies operated in separate facilities for a time, but in 1929 an addition was built at the Arcadian plant and all operations moved there. By this time, Arcadian Spring was no longer being used to supply the water for the beverages and spring water. Crystal Rock spring on the North East corner of Waukesha Springs park was supplying the water.  

In September of 1938, the Arcadian Springhouse was demolished, and the land was used for other purposes. This did not seem to affect the people of Waukesha, and when reporting on the event, the Waukesha Freeman Newspaper even called it a "relic of bygone days." Roxo continued on, and in 1935 the machinery in the plant was updated. It became one of the largest and most modern bottling plants in the city. Roxo became a successful business in the next few decades and Roxo beverages were bottled at the old Arcadian plant until 1967 when the company was bought out by one of the biggest and longest lasting spring businesses in the city, Bon-Ton / Bethesda. After this, all bottling of Roxo beverages took place at the Bethesda plant. 

The old Arcadian / Roxo bottling plant sat abandoned and deteriorating for a while, but was eventually converted into apartments. It still stands today across from the gas station on Arcadian Ave. 


Waukesha Landmarks Commission. Spring City's Past.

Schoenknecht, John Martin. Great Waukesha Springs Era 1868-1918. Edition 1. Waukesha, WI. John M. Schoenknecht, 2003.

Waukesha Freeman, September 14, 1938

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum

Bob Salb Post Card Collection

Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum