Temperance Water Fountain

Location: Riverside, California, USA

Standing outside the Riverside Metropolitan Museum on Mission Inn Avenue and Orange Street is a replica of the drinking fountain donated to the City of Riverside in 1907 by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. It was originally installed in front of the YMCA building on University Avenue and Lemon Street. The original statue has been restored and is preserved inside the Museum.

Design #209 by J. W. Fiske, seated on a square plinth, consists of a square column surmounted by a statue. The four square panels at the base contain bas-relief of two intertwined sea serpents. Panels on two sides at ground level offer a fluted demi-lune basin with dog head mascaron for the use of dogs and small animals.


Used with permission, John Pedroza. Source: http://www.johnpedroza.com/blog1/rmm/

A second level of rectangular panels outlined with a version of ‘egg and tongue’ moulding rise above a chamfered edge decorated with rosette fret. Sculptured bas-relief on each panel displays stylized flowers with bulrushes and ivy around a central lunette containing a design of four palmettes. The lunette on one panel is substituted by a drinking basin for humans decorated with bulrush leaves.


Used with permission, John Pedroza. Source: http://www.johnpedroza.com/blog1/rmm/

The capital supports an abacus with inscription, Presented To The City/ By The / W.C.T.U. Of Riverside / 1907. The structure, surmounted by a 36″ tall statue of a maiden feeding a dove perched on her right wrist, is identified as #226 Maiden with Bird. With her left hand she gathers her robe on her hip, her head is tilted slightly back, and she holds a seed in her mouth. The sculpture is attributed to George Fischer, bronze founder. The manufacturer’s stamp is visible on the octagonal base of the statue, J. W. Fiske / 26.28 Park Place / New York.


  • Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Chamfer, a beveled edge
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design



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