Thank you for visiting my blog.  As of 2019 the database is approaching 400 posts identifying cast iron drinking fountains located around the world. To search for a specific item use the Search Box by entering a relevant detail e.g. city, memorial name, etc. The blog can also be searched using the Category Box which offers a search by country, foundry, historic registers, etc.

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Dixfield Drinking Fountain

Location: Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine, USA

There is little information regarding the 19th century drinking fountain/horse trough/lamp installed at the intersection of Main and Weld streets. Most images and postcards found online are identified with a year; however, a review of photographic evidence specifically changes to the National House Hotel seems to refute these dates.

A dedication ball was held at the National House on July 8, 1857 to mark the opening of the five-storied wood framed building. By 1900, the top floors had been removed. During this time period, the fountain is visible terminating with a gas lantern.

In the image below, a large crowd has gathered to witness a car race.

With the advent of the automobile, the horse trough became obsolete, and at some point after removal of the top floors of the hotel, the lamp atop the fountain was also removed.

An image of the 1922 Independence Day parade identifies that the central column once a lamppost has been transformed into a directional sign.

The drinking fountain/horse trough is identified as design #3 for man and beast in Henry F. Jenks’ foundry catalog. The 24 feet high structure manufactured in cast iron consisted of a solid base with an annular channel for use as a dog trough.

The 4ft high pedestal with attic base hosted arched panels for dedication or bas-relief enrichment. A movable panel in one side offered access to plumbing.

A circular horse trough, 56 inches in diameter (at 4 feet 3 inches above ground level it was a comfortable height for horses to drink with ease) had the capacity to hold a barrel of water (42 gallons). The centre of the basin contained a jamb from which dolphin mascarons spouted water and drinking cups were attached. Waste water was directed to the dog trough at street level. This design prevented contagious distemper.

The fountain was provided with self closing faucets and the pipes within were constructed to resist freezing in cold temperatures. Fountains were supplied both with and without an ice box attachment as desired. An ice box was placed near the sidewalk underground, which was provided with coils of tin lined pipe on which ice was placed to cool the water flowing through the coils to the outlet of the fountain.

The structure was offered with a studded band terminating in an orb finial or a fluted lamp pillar with a gas lantern extension.

Glossary:

  • Annular; circular, ring shaped
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Lost Fountain of Denison

Location: Denison, TX, USA

In 1889 the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union held a convention in the city of Denison. The organization promoted total abstinence from alcoholic beverages which was a leading cause of the plight of abused and neglected women and children.

A water fountain was erected in 1890 to discourage men from frequenting saloons and to offer an alternative to alcohol. It was installed at the intersection of Main Street and Rusk Avenue outside Madden’s Department Store. In 1926 it was relocated to Forest Park, and unfortunately, the subsequent history and current whereabouts of the fountain is unknown.

Title 17 U.S.C. section 107. Source:https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/acheson-sarah-c

Detail on the fountain is unclear from the only photograph I have been able to find, and the design was customized at each purchaser’s request. The attached images are from the same design currently in Anacortes, WA. View additional photos at this link, https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/w-c-t-u-fountain-3/

The 9 feet high fountain with square base consisted of a square column surmounted by a statue. The four square panels at the base contained bas-relief of two intertwined sea serpents and offered fluted demi-lune basins with dog head mascaron for the use of dogs and small animals.

A second level of rectangular panels outlined with egg and tongue moulding rose above a chamfered edge decorated with rosette fret. On alternate panels the bas-relief contained two swans with raised wings resting on an orb from which rose Neptune’s trident flanked by stylized flowers and bulrushes. A horse trough jutted into the street with a large lion mascaron from which water spouted. On the opposite side where the panel hosted a drinking basin for humans, the sculpture differed displaying only bulrushes, the leaves of which decorated the basin.

An upper and lower cornice with rosette and acanthus frieze bordered a third level of panels which offered space for a dedication. The bulrush theme was repeated in horizontal bas-relief.

A multi-tiered acroter supporting a 36″ high statue of a woman feeding a dove was identified as Girl Feeding Bird #226. A dove was perched on her right wrist. With her left hand she gathered her robe on her hip to contain the seeds in the fold of her tunic. Her head was tilted slightly back and she held a seed in her mouth. The sculpture is attributed to bronze founder, George Fischer. The manufacturer’s stamp was marked on the octagonal base of the statue,J. W. Fiske / 26.28 Park Place / New York.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

Castlegate Fountain

Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

The central area of Aberdeen, once Castlegate and now known as Union Square, was host to several significant monuments including the Mercat Cross; a statue of George, Fifth and last Duke of Gordon, and a drinking fountain/trough/lamp combination which stood outside the Records Office.

Used with permission, Affiliate Partner Program. Source: https://www.francisfrith.com/aberdeen/aberdeen-municipal-buildings-1892_a90301
Public domain. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen#/media/File:Aberdeen1.jpg

The cast iron structure with a double trough was probably installed in the mid-19th century and experienced several transformations throughout its history. It was originally a modification of Design number 28 manufactured by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow (image circa 1892). Four intertwined dolphins, symbolizing guardians of all things water related, encircled the central column which terminated in five globe lanterns.

Used with permission, Affiliate Partner Program. Source: https://www.francisfrith.com/aberdeen/aberdeen-union-buildings-1892_a90301v

Old images show the structure as early as 1885. It would appear that the light fixture was changed to a hexagonal lamp with fish scale design circa 1900.

Source: http://www.mcjazz.f2s.com/KingStreet.htm

Further photographic evidence circa 1907 shows the light source had been removed and was capped with a closed urn from which water spouted allowing humans to drink.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/AberdeenHistoryInPictures

Milton Town Hall Fountain/Trough

Location: Milton, Ontario, Canada

The Temperance Movement in the 19th century was fuelled by a growing concern over social problems including insanity and poverty believed to be caused by alcohol consumption. The Town’s first mayor was a member of the movement, and a Temperance Hall was constructed in 1857 at Mill Street.

In 1889 the Royal Templars of Temperance donated a water fountain to the Town of Milton to quench people’s thirst and inhibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Situated at the original Town Hall at 251 Main Street, with a horse trough facing the road to allow horses to drink, it remained there for many decades. The fountain was relocated to the back of Hugh Foster Hall and later moved in front of the Town Hall in Victoria Park.

Source: http://www.miltonhistoricalsociety.ca/historic-properties/town-hall-fountain/

The structure, seated on a rectangular plinth, supports a pedestal featuring a beaver; a symbol which was on Milton’s original Town Seal. A stanchion decorated with thistles and acorns rises from the trough. A square block which housed the mechanics of the fountain identifies the manufacturer as R. G. Olmstead. The Olmstead Iron Works were located in Hamilton, Ontario. The terminal is in the shape of a thistle.