Esther McNeill Fountain

Location: Fredonia, NYS, USA

Attached to this memorial drinking fountain, at the southwest corner of the park next to the information booth, is a dedication plaque: Esther McNeill / Crusader / 1873 / Erected By / Fredonia W.C.T.U. / 1912.

Esther McNeill was the first president of the first chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union established in 1873. During her 17 years of service she played an integral part in the introduction of a law guaranteeing that the effects of alcohol would be taught in schools. She died in 1906 at the age of 95. Held in high esteem, the fountain was dedicated to her memory on June 13, 1913 in Fredonia’s Barker Commons.

The structure cast by J.L. Mott Iron Works consists of a square central column seated on a square plinth with attic base. Receptacles on three sides consist of two small basins supported by consoles and a third demi-lune basin. A garland frieze sits beneath the capital which supports a lamp in the form of an Olympic torch with acanthus relief. A framework of bands and Corinthian columns terminates in four finials to create the form of a crown.

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Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Corinthian Column, a fluted shaft with flowers and leaves at the capital.
  • Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

 

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