Though the name and the lore of Matrimony Spring have been changed, warped, and told again many times, the spring itself still provides water to locals and travelers alike… and may still work its magic on those who imbibe.
In an article that appeared in the Moab Museum’s longtime publication Canyon Legacy, writer Kris Johnson wrote, “the legend of Matrimony Springs states that if one stops and drinks they will always return to the Moab area…. The story about the name ‘Matrimony’ has not been recorded on paper, but according to oral stories, it refers to the summer when many young pioneers were married in the newly settled Grand Valley.”
According to older versions of the story, however, a drink from Matrimony Springs (or River Spring, as it used to be called) would ensure a couple in love would remain faithful to one another, forever.
“Dances were held on the banks of the river,” wrote Johnson. “When young couples went to the spring for a refreshing drink, the spring would play another of its magical tricks. The couple soon found themselves wed – hence the name – Matrimony Springs!”
The following poem was published in the Winter 1995 Literature of the Canyons issue of Canyon Legacy.
Spring with a Legend – E.R. (Russ) Carter
There’s a Spring that flows
Near the River’s Bridge
From Sand Stone rocks
Neath the rocky ridge
They say to drink from this
That you will return to drink
Again and again
Well I drank from this Spring
A long time ago.
I never did go.
The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.