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

 

 

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