Tapawingo Springs (also known as Penny Springs) is a group of cold springs arising near Turkey Creek off Tapawingo Road (Alabama State Highway 75) in Pinson Valley. The springs feed a flooded basin approximately 16.5 acres in surface area before spilling into the Creek along a run, which has been identified as a crucial habitat for the endangered rush darter, vermilion darter and watercress darter.
Long held in private hands, the spring basin was promoted as a commercial swimming hole since the late 1930s, named for "an Indian word meaning 'place of joy'." A fire in the 1950s destroyed the park's dance hall and damaged the bath house, forcing the closure of the attraction. New owners re-incorporated the park as Tapawingo Plunge on May 23, 1962. They renovated the swimming hole and were successful for a while, but closed again in 1974.
After the attraction closed, the area became a trailer park while the remains of the recreation area were left to deteriorate.
The Freshwater Land Trust began purchasing parcels in the area in 2001, finally taking the opportunity to acquire and preserve the former park site (and the neighboring Conn residence) in 2012. Later that year the Land Trust removed partnered with B.A.S.S. to removed invasive plants and help establish native vegetation in the vicinity of the springs. Plans have been developed for a boardwalk and overlook for the Tapawingo Springs Preserve.
|Watercress darter (Etheostoma nuchale)|
|Habitats||Glenn Springs · Nabors Branch · Roebuck Spring · Tapawingo Springs · Thomas Spring · Turkey Creek|
|Preserves||Seven Springs Ecoscape · Turkey Creek Nature Preserve · Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge|
|People||R. D. Caldwell (co-discoverer) · Larry Davenport · Mike Howell (co-discoverer) · Heron Johnson|