Lewis Fountain

Location: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

At the northwest corner of Main and Argyle Streets (once known as Moody’s Corner) near the waterfront is the Lewis Fountain also known as the South End Fountain. It was donated as a gift to the Town of Yarmouth in 1895 by Nathan B. Lewis, a prosperous ship owner and merchant whose businesses operated on Argyle Street. The fountain, commissioned from a design by J.L. Mott Iron Works of New York, was erected on 6th May 1895.

Circa 1895. Used with permission, Photo courtesy of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

Circa 1895. Used with permission, Photo courtesy of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives.

Circa 1911. Used with permission. From Souvenir of the 150th Anniversary of the Settlement of Yarmouth Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia Archives — Library no. V/F vol. 262 no. 14

Circa 1911. Used with permission. From Souvenir of the 150th Anniversary of the Settlement of Yarmouth Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Archives — Library no. V/F vol. 262 no. 14

archive

The cast iron structure is seated on an octagonal base with chamfered corners. Originally there were 4 small basins at ground level to allow dogs to drink and two large troughs to quench the thirst of horses and cattle.

Eight panel, surmounted with scalloped arches, host dolphin masks from which water spouted into four basins decorated with laurel leaves. A square central column displays three cartouches containing an orb surrounded by flourish. The fourth cartouche is an engraved plaque which reads: Presented / To The / Town Of Yarmouth / By / Nathan B. Lewis And Wife / May1st 1895. Each corner is bound with a highly decorated pilaster.

A plaque identifies the structure with the legend, Town / Of / Yarmouth / Heritage Property. The fountain was recorded as a Registered Heritage Property on June 12, 1984.

The terminal is an elaborately decorated four tiered urn capped with an acorn finial. Acorn motifs symbolize that the roots of a family or institution are old and deep.

During World War II the fountain was removed possibly with the intention of reducing it to scrap metal for the war effort. However, thanks to the determination of a Lewis family member it was returned to Moody’s Corner.

With the advent of the motor vehicle the fountain became an obstacle. After being damaged in several collisions, it was removed in the 1950s and recast before being relocated to its current location. Although a constant flow of water from Lake George originally fed the fountain, it is no longer connected to a water supply.

NOTE: Another drinking fountain existed in Yarmouth on Forest Street. A ‘lost’ fountain, this structure resembles a J. W. Fiske Foundry casting. It was removed in the early 1940s after being hit by a car. Drinking fountains were often placed in the middle of busy horse traffic intersections where they eventually became an obstacle to vehicular traffic. It is believed that the structure was sent to a foundry for repairs but there is little known of this fountain’s history.

Glossary

  • 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.
  • Chamfered, a beveled edge connecting two surfaces
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Mask/Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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