Tupelo W.C.T.U. Drinking Fountain

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi, USA

Tupelo may be most recognized around the world as the birthplace of Elvis Presley; however, on the lawn of the Lee County Courthouse at Spring & Broadway is a drinking fountain erected by the Tupelo Women’s Christian Temperance Union in commemoration of State wide prohibition.

In 1908 there was a lawn, a sidewalk and a narrow boulevard in front of the courthouse. The fountain surmounted by a stone angel was originally located beyond the sidewalk near the edge of the road. It was situated there to allow beasts of burden to drink from a large trough on the side of the fountain. The design also supplied a small trough at ground level for dogs and smaller animals.


Drinking fountain on left side of image

The drinking fountain was cast by J. L. Mott Iron Works of Trenton, New Jersey, USA. It is seated on a square base with pilasters on each corner and four panels containing bas-relief of an orb with flourish. The capital supports a single pedestal with four sides. The front panel contains a demi-lune basin into which water poured from a lion mascaron. A tin cup was originally suspended on a chain to allow humans the opportunity to drink. Above is a dedication plaque which reads: Tupelo / Woman’s Christian / Temperance Union / In Commemoration / Of / State wide Prohibition / January First / 1908.

On two sides is the mascaron of a woman symbolic of the W.C.T.U. which was a religious organization. The angel terminal is displayed with one hand on her heart and the other outstretched in an offer of assistance and comfort. The structure is now enclosed with a protective fence.


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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