Spring sites were important determinants in farm selection and siting. During the settlement period and long thereafter, prospective farm families needed a water source for themselves and their livestock. A spring is a site where ground water flows to the surface, either from seepage or from underground aquifers. Spring sites were much prized and carefully protected, either by simple roofs or by elaborate spring houses.

Summer kitchen with walled spring, Lebanon County, c1850
Summer kitchen and springhouse, Lebanon County, c. 1850.
The walled area to the right encloses a spring.