Golden Horse Fountain

Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

This drinking fountain is known as the Golden Horse Fountain and also the Milton Fountain. It stands at the intersection of Vancouver, Water, Main and Chestnut streets in the Milton suburb of Yarmouth.

When the fountain was originally erected on 20th May, 1893 in the centre of Main Street near the trolley tracks, the horse faced north. However, to allow for the widening of Main Street, the structure was moved 50 feet to the west which resulted in the horse facing east.

The drinking fountain was donated to the town by Clara Killam, the daughter of Samuel Killam, a wealthy shipping magnate. Clara selected Clara selected casting number 310-k with the statue of a trotting horse from the catalog of J.L. Mott Iron Works, New York.

The 11 feet high structure consists of a single granite pedestal with attic base and canted corners surmounted by a bronze statue of a prancing horse. Two demi-lune fluted basins for human consumption were located on the east and west sides of the fountain. A continual water flow was supplied from Lake George. Drinking cups attached to chains were filled from dolphin mascaron spouts. The overflow of water from the basins fed the horse and cattle troughs on the north and south sides, and the four smaller basins on each corner supplied refreshment to smaller animals. Panels on each side are made from iron and are elaborately detailed with ornamentation. On the south side, a brass plate bears the following inscription: Presented / To / Milton Yarmouth / By / Clara Killam /, May 1, 1893.

plaque

In the early 20th century, the advent of automobiles decreased the need for watering horses, and the fountain no longer became an important feature. Faucets were replaced by a push button to restrict water flow and the cups were removed.

townofyarmouth_mask

Throughout its history, the fountain has been damaged and defaced accidentally and purposefully. One of the dolphin masks, blown off in August 1922 by a home-made bomb, was replaced. Collisions with vehicular traffic caused minor damage, and in 1961 during a snow storm, a snow plough struck the fountain causing the statue to topple from the base and smash into pieces. The horse was saved from the town dump by the town engineer who hired the Lunenburg Foundry to reassemble the pieces. This was accomplished with steel plates and hundreds of stainless steel screws. The statue was then returned to Yarmouth and remounted on the fountain.

1940s

1940s

Many pranks have done damage to the statue by riding the horse, snapping its ears off, and defacing it with spray paint. An annual tradition for School of Nursing graduates was the decoration of the horse using straw hats, feed bags, and bandages. In 1986 when the ears were broken off, cracks were discovered in the horse’s limbs and it was once again sent to Lunenburg for repair. A dividing island now offers slightly more protection from vehicular traffic.

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The structure was recognized as an historic place in 1984 and listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places on 27 February 2007. Today, the structure is seated on an octagonal plinth, and the monument is no longer used as a drinking fountain. Flowers growing in the font are planted by the Milton Improvement Society with annual maintenance of the structure funded by the Town of Yarmouth.

Glossary

  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

 

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Posted on April 11, 2015, in Architecture, Canada, Canada's Historic Places Register, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, J. L. Mott and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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