Monthly Archives: September 2014

Myers Drinking Fountain

Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA

In 1897 Mayor Herman Myers donated a drinking fountain to the City for use by humans. It was erected in Forsyth Park. The single column pedestal was 9’ 5” tall with drinking basins and faucets. A multi-tiered acroter supported a 36″ tall statue of a maiden feeding a dove. The sculpture is attributed to bronze founder, George Fischer and cast by J.W. Fiske, identified as Girl Feeding Bird #226. A bird perches on her right wrist as she gathers a tunic at her left hip with her left hand creating a pouch containing seeds. Her head is tilted slightly back and she holds a seed in her mouth. The fountain was removed from Forsyth Park in the 1980’s.

In 1983 a structure resembling the lower portion of the original fountain was installed at Troup Square. Whether the fountain was re-engineered or the base reproduced is uncertain. The current fountain is seated on a square base with a single pedestal containing four inset panels. Each panel displays a stylized floral pattern and on two sides at ground level is a demi basin for small animals. A multi-level acroter supports an enclosed vase with orb terminal.

An annual ceremony known as the Blessing of Pets is held each October 4th (the Feast of St. Francis, Patron Saint of animals) at the fountain.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Leach Memorial Fountain

Location: Sturminster Newton, Dorset, England

This 8 foot high cast iron fountain in the form of a multi-tiered rectangular column has a square base with chamfered corners and apertures at ground level which previously contained troughs for dogs. The attached horse trough is seated on a ceramic brick base.

A demi basin extends from the rectangular pedestal which contains four panels with bulrush relief and a lions’ head above a Tudor rose (the floral heraldic emblem of England.) A multi-level acroter has a terminal of two dolphins intertwined around a trident. An inscription is engraved on two sides. Erected to the / memory of / J. Comyns Leach, M.D. J.P. / who practised in this / town for over 40 years / and who died at sea / March 11th 1907 / aged 65 years / and of his son / E. Comyns Leach/ B.A. Surgeon / who died at Sierra / Leone June 17th 1902 / aged 33 years.

J. Comyns Leach died on the S.S. Argonaut between Malta and Port Said. His obituary stated that he had a sympathic disposition which won the esteem and regard of all. He was a highly educated doctor who practised medicine in Sturminster for over 40 years and held many titles in the medical field. He was also a published author as well as a Justice of the Peace for the County. At the time of his death he held the appointment of County Coroner, County Analyst and Medical Officer for Heath for the District of Sturminster.

The fountain was listed a Grade II historic building on 20 October 1983.

Although the structure has been identified by British Listed Buildings as a casting by Mitchell and Sons of Bristol (the name of the supplier on a side plate) it is a Coalbrookdale casting. The Coalbrookdale name is stamped beneath the basin. This design was registered in 1864 (Rd No 173109.)

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 

 


Harrisonburg Fountain

Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

In 1904 the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union encouraged local chapters to erect fresh water fountains in public venues. The black-painted cast iron drinking fountain located at the southern side of the Court House Square regularly quenched the thirst of citizens as they attended Court or visited the downtown area on business.

An octagonal base supports a single pedestal with attic base. The pedestal lacking any form of decoration rises to an acroter which supports a two tiered octagonal column decorated with floral relief. Lion masks spout water into basins protruding from two sides. Metal cups which are no longer present were suspended by chains attached to rings. The original terminal is a 36″ tall statue of a maiden feeding a dove perched on her right wrist. With her left hand she gathers her robe on her hip creating a pouch that contains seeds. Her head is tilted slightly back and she holds a seed in her mouth.. The base at the front of the statue is inscribed with raised letters, “J. W. Fiske 26.28 Park Place New York.” The statue has been identified as Virtue.

After repeated vandalism the head of the statue was replaced in 1995. The head was stolen once again and the right hand holding the bird was also ripped off. Although the head was never found the hand and bird were recovered. The decapitated statue was removed from the fountain in 2004 and stored in the basement of the Rockingham County Courthouse.

The statue was restored by Fine Line Architectural Detailing funded by the Margaret Grattan-Weaver Foundation. The project for restoration includes making a cast of a statue from the same design atop a fountain located in Ligonier Borough, Pennsylvania. Once restored, the statue will be displayed inside the courthouse. The drinking fountain will remain outdoors and be operational.

Glossary

  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

 


Babylon Fountain

Location: Babylon, Long Island, NYS, USA

The drinking fountain in Babylon was erected at the intersection of Main Street and Fire Island Avenue/Deer Park Avenue. It was funded by the Women’s Exchange, a charitable organization formed to aid genteel women whose financial status had declined.

It was manufactured by Stewart Iron Works in Kentucky, referenced in their catalogue as ‘drinking fountain for man and beast #209’ with a cast iron base and bronze statue; the remaining structure was made of zinc.

On Memorial Day in 1897 a dedication ceremony was held with speeches and patriotic songs, and the American flag draping the fountain was removed. Water flowed from a spout in the base. It was considered a very handsome fountain which beautified the village.

A square base with four short columns supported a dog toothed acroter. Rosettes were carved into each panel between the columns. A single column pedestal contained four inset panels displaying two swans with raised wings that rested on an orb from which rose Neptune’s trident flanked by stylized flowers and bulrushes. Three sides of the structure contained a drinking vessel. At ground level there was a small trough for dogs surmounted by a sculptured dog kennel. A second kennel was also located on an adjacent side. A wide and deep trough decorated with acanthus was available for the use of horses (a dolphin like fish released water from its mouth into the horse trough.) A small basin for humans was decorated with large leaf pattern on the underside.

A multi-tiered acroter supported a 36″ tall statue of a maiden feeding a dove perched on her right wrist. With her left hand she gathers her robe on her hip creating a pouch that contains seeds. Her head is tilted slightly back and she holds a seed in her mouth.

In 1914 it was damaged when a trolley from a nearby hamlet overturned onto it. Three years later the State Health Department banned the use of public drinking fountains due to health concerns regarding infectious diseases. It was removed and a flagpole mounted in its place, and at this point in history the fountain became a lost item.

A duplicate fountain and statue was discovered in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and in 2009 a local committee undertook the task of reconstructing the fountain and founded a Facebook page, The Babylon Village Historic Fountain Reconstruction Project. Due to fundraising, a Suffolk County grant, and the generosity of the people of Ligonier to permit their fountain to be disassembled and the parts cast into molds; a non-functioning replica of the fountain was reinstalled in front of the Village Historical Society on Main Street.

The official unveiling which took place on Memorial Day 2011 mimicked the original ceremony. The Mayor of Babylon, Ralph Scordino, thanked Ligonier Borough for its civic dedication, compassion, and commitment to the preservation of American heritage. A plaque next to fountain reads: this historical reproduction would not have been possible without the help and cooperation of the people of Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base

 

Image Sources

http://thebabylonvillagefountain.blogspot.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Babylon-Village-Historic-Fountain-Reconstruction-Project/161195615969

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/li-life/babylon-s-new-replica-of-1897-fountain-1.2914213#2


Ligonier Fountain

Location: Ligonier, Pennsylvania, USA.

The research for this fountain was very interesting as it is linked to two other fountains. Although the drinking fountains themselves are not identical the terminals for all three hosted the same statue. A mold of the statue in Ligonier was cast to assist in the restoration of the fountains in Harrisonburg, PA and Babylon, NY.

Fundraising for a drinking fountain began in 1913 and on 21 June 1921 the structure was donated by the Ligonier Volunteer Hose Company #1. The fountain was 10 feet tall and provided drinking water for humans, dogs and horses. It was advertised as Man and Beast Fountain #209 by Stewart Iron Works Kentucky. It is located at the north side of the inner diamond facing North Market Street.

A square base with four short columns supported a dog toothed acroter. Rosettes were carved into each panel between the columns. A single column pedestal contained four inset panels displaying two swans with raised wings that rested on an orb from which rose Neptune’s trident flanked by stylized flowers and bulrushes. Three sides of the structure contained a drinking vessel. At ground level there was a small trough for dogs surmounted by a sculptured dog kennel. A second kennel was also located on an adjacent side. A wide and deep trough decorated with acanthus was available for the use of horses. A dolphin like fish released water from its mouth into the horse trough. A small basin for humans was decorated with large leaf pattern on the underside.

A multi-tiered acroter supporting a 36″ tall statue of a woman feeding a dove is identified as Girl Feeding Bird #226. A bird perches on her right wrist as she gathers a tunic at her left hip with her left hand creating a pouch containing seeds. Her head is tilted slightly back and she holds a seed in her mouth. The sculpture is attributed to bronze founder, George Fischer. The original colour scheme was green paint on the female figure and white paint on the bird.

The deep horse trough was removed circa 1999 due to concerns of possible drowning if a child fell in. Four years later in the winter of 2003, a State Department of Transportation vehicle destroyed the structure when the snow blade hit the fountain. The remains of the fountain were removed and stored in a garage until Stewart Iron Works was hired to repair it.

In 2009 the fountain was shipped to Stewart Iron Works in Covington, KY to be dismantled , cleaned and castings made for a replica in Babylon, Long Island, NY.

It was returned to Town Square in 2010, and a brass plaque was mounted documenting the donation by Ligonier Volunteer Hose Co. No. 1 firefighters in 1921.

Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base

 

 


John McTaggart Memorial Drinking Fountain

Location: Barr, Ayrshire, Scotland

Located in this small Ayrshire town is a drinking fountain dedicated to a local man who was killed in the Boer War. Lance-Corporal John McTaggart is listed as having died of disease on 31st May 1901. During the Boer War, more men died from disease than during combat. A massive outbreak of typhoid fever borne of contaminated water entered Bloemfontein, and the British Army suffered huge losses of approximately 6000 soldiers. Within the Bloemfontein Cemetery there is a garden of remembrance identifying all the men who succumbed during the war.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches within each lunette host the image of a crane, and a shield with a dedication to John McTaggart; In memory of / John McTaggart / Lance-Corporal 1st. K.O.S.B. / a native of Barr / who died in war / at Bloemfontein / South Africa / 1901 / Erected  by the / people of/ Barr. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains. The structure is surmounted by an open filigree dome, the finial being a crown with a pattée cross.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal is a crane.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary

  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pattée cross, a cross with arms that narrow at the centre and flare out at the perimeter
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal