Fireman’s Drinking Fountain

Location: Slatington, Pennsylvania, USA

A 12 foot high drinking fountain manufactured by the E.T. Barnum Company of Detroit, Michigan with the statue of a fireman was purchased with the help of local subscriptions. It was erected in 1910 on Main Street to provide drinking water to people, horses and dogs. It was dedicated on April 10, 1910 by Hose Company # 1, Slatington.

The fountain is seated on a two tiered hexagonal plinth housing a small trough at ground level for dogs and smaller animals. The pedestal supports a large fluted demi-lune trough at the roadside for the use of horses which was removed sometime prior to 1960 per photographic evidence. A smaller fluted basin facing the sidewalk allowed humans to quench their thirst. A cornice of egg and dart moulding is located beneath the capital which supports a statue of a fireman.

The 7 foot 3 inches high zinc statue depicts a volunteer fireman with handlebar moustache, wearing a rubber fire coat, rubber boots, and a pointed hat. The statue carries a child on his left arm and a lantern in his right hand which is illuminated with an electric light bulb. The statue was purchased from J. W. Fiske Iron Works, New York City. It represents past and present volunteers in the Slatington region. In 2002, to honor the firefighters who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one of the statue’s gold buttons was painted “NYFD”. The piping on the clothes of the child was changed to blue instead of pink – the reason for changing the sex of the child is unknown.

Throughout its history the structure was hit twice by an automobile. The incident in 1979 beheaded the statue initiating a costly restoration and re-dedication on July 19, 1980 following a large parade. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The structure was rededicated on 11 September 2010 as part of its 100th anniversary.

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Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Egg and dart, a carving of alternating oval shapes and dart or arrow shapes
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • 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 November 16, 2016, in Architecture, Cast Iron, Drinking Fountain, J. W. Fiske, National Register of Historic Places, United States of America and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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