Monthly Archives: May 2017

J. Fitzhugh Thornton Memorial Fountain

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The drinking fountain topped with the statue of an Indian is located at the traffic circle at Thorton Avenue & Gracely Drive (known as Thornton Triangle) in the Saylor Park neighborhood. It is known by several names: J. Fitzhugh Thornton Memorial, the Fernbank Indian, Sayler Park Indian, and Tecumseh after the Shawnee leader who led the resistance against the American settlement of the Ohio and Indiana territories in the early 19th century.

It was erected on January 15, 1912 in the village of Fernbank in memory of John Fitzhugh Thornton by his wife Eliza. It was dedicated on June 22, 1912.

The flood of 1937, which followed the wettest January ever recorded, left 100,000 people homeless. It also left the drinking fountain partially submerged.

In 1940 the structure was struck by a car knocking the statue to the ground. Believed to be irreparable, it was sold to an antiques dealer in Indiana for $10. After a public outcry, funds were raised to purchase the statue from the dealer, and it was reinstalled on April 14, 1941 facing River Road until residents complained that it was facing in the wrong direction.

In 1965 it was again hit by a car causing damage and resurrected on Feb. 9, 1966 with substandard repairs allowing rust to cause deterioration of the statue. A call to restore it in 1979 was not heeded until 2000 when the park department decided to recast the statue in bronze. It was rededicated on October 5, 2003. The statue has been designated a local historic landmark by the City of Cincinnati.

The statue of an Indian was originally a wood carving created by Samuel Anderson Robb who was the leading cigar store Indian peddler. It was carved for William Demuth & Co. who cast it in zinc and advertised it in his catalog as “No. 53 Indian Chief.” In 1873, the J.L. Mott Iron Works purchased the design and listed it in their catalog of statuary. The statue was also offered atop a cast iron drinking fountain.

The fountain was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works and sat on a circular plinth with dimensions of 5ft. 9ins. to the top of the head and 6ft. 6ins. to the top of the feathers. A large square base contained panels for dedication on four sides; the panel at the front of the structure contains the legend,  Erected In Memory Of / J. Fitzhugh Thornton / By His Wife / Eliza M. Thornton / January 15, 1912. Above is a lunette containing a frieze with lion mascarons. A column extends above with laurel decoration and guilloche. The capital supports the Indian figure.

In his right hand the Indian Chief holds an arrow, and in his left hand he holds a bow attached to a base near his left foot, which rests on a rock. (This stance is called contrapposto, where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed.) A tree stump behind his right leg balances the sculpture. He is dressed in a headband containing three feathers, a bear claw necklace, a cloak, a breechcloth (fabric tucked into a belt that covered the front and back), fringed leggings and moccasins.



  • Capital, The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Guilloche, Decorative engraving technique of two or more bands twisted over each other in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern
  • 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
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

Hudson-Fulton Monument

Location: Beacon, New York State, USA

As part of the town’s tribute to the 300th anniversary of the Hudson-Fulton celebration of 1909*, Reverend Thomas Elliott, a retired clergyman, initiated a memorial fund from public donations to purchase a fountain.
(*The 300th anniversary celebration of explorer Henry Hudson’s journey up the Hudson River, and the 100th birthday of inventor and engineer Robert Fulton’s trip on the same river in his steamboat Clermont.)

Installation of the fountain was delayed due to tardy donations and electrical issues (lights were installed on the north and south sides of the memorial to mirror passing vessels which were lit up at dusk.) The unveiling and dedication eventually took place on June 19, 1911 at the location of Bank Square.

A circular granite base incorporated a trough for horses and a smaller trough at ground level for the use of dogs. The cast iron structure seated on a square granite block was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. The bronzed iron pedestal supported a statue of Hebe.

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On alternate sides of the base, there is a lunette containing a lion mascaron within armoria, flanked by acanthus, and an inscription in bas-relief; Hudson-Fulton 1909. The pedestal which repeated the mascaron with fleur de lys, originally supported two consoles bearing globe lanterns. A laurel frieze is situated beneath the cornice.

The capital supports a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, classically dressed in flowing robes. Standing contrapposto she holds a pitcher at her right side and a bowl in her raised left hand. The figure was sculpted by Bertel Thorwaldsen.

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Following the advent of the automobile, the need for horse watering troughs declined, and in 1927 the fountain was removed. The statue and pedestal were placed in storage.
Four years later in 1931, the West End Men’s Community Club petitioned for the resurrection of the statue. It was erected facing the river on a triangular plot of land near the southeast corner of Verplanck Avenue and Willow Street which was donated by Mrs. Lewis Tompkins.

Restoration and bronzing of the statue was undertaken by Tallix, Inc. in 2000.

• Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
• Armoria, shield, coat of arms, crest
• 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
• Console, a decorative bracket support element
• Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
• Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
• Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
• 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
• Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue

Glenview Park Memorial Fountain

Location: Larkhall, Lanarkshire, Scotland

I have been unable to discover when this drinking fountain was erected, and if Glenview Memorial Park is the original location. However, per photographic evidence it was in this location in 1929.


The canopied drinking fountain located in Glenview Memorial Park is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane &Co.’s catalog manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on a two tiered octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings which displayed lunettes with alternate images of cranes and swans, or optional memorial shields such as the Larkhall Victualling Society Limited. On each side arch faceplates provide a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament, and statues of owls on enlarged column heads. The openwork iron canopy was originally surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial.


Under the canopy stood font casting number 7. The 5ft 8ins high font was a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief supporting a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The interior surface of the scalloped edge basin was engraved with decorative relief, and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains. Water flowed from a spout into the drinking cup by pressing its edge against a projecting stud below the spout. The self-closing valve allowed for operation with only one hand.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; lions are symbolic of guardianship; doves are synonymous with peace, and owls are symbolic of guardians of the afterlife. Cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance and are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

As part of the refurbishment of Glenview Memorial Park a mosaic was created on the octagonal plinth of the cast iron drinking fountain. The mosaic was created by artist Alan Potter focusing the design on the historical, cultural and social development of Larkhall village and its environs. The icons are accompanied by brief descriptions in text set around the time-line: The Beaker people, The Damnoni Celts, The Romans, The early Christians, The Hamilton Family, The Reformation, The Covenanters and the Friendly Societies.

The central portion of the design comprises images which are of particular significance to Larkhall in its development since the mid-18th century.

  • The early introduction of Building Societies allowing people to own their own properties (“Bonnet Lairds”).
  • Fruit growing in the Clyde Valley.
  • Home weaving with a handloom and shuttles.
  • Portrait of Robert Smillie, a miner, trade unionist who defended the rights of miners around the UK, a social reformer who co-founded the Labour Party in Scotland, President of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, and a symbolic broken chain and an overhead lamp symbolizing enlightenment.
  • A miner working in a low, cramped seam, his headlamp echoing the one above Smillie’s portrait.
  • Coal loaded on to trucks being taken away to power the heavy industries of Britain.
  • The steam train crosses the viaduct, tallest in Scotland at 170’ high, over Morgan’s Glen and the River Avon.

At the centre is a circular icon showing a lark ascending over a hill, the possible origin of the name Larkhall. However the name appears as Lakhouse in Timothy Pont’s Blaeu Atlas of Scotland completed in 1596 and published in 1654. It was also known in the 19th century as Laverockhall (Laverockha’) referring to a skylark and a wet boggy area.

The mosaic was unveiled in October 2008 by artist Alan Potter and the Larkhall Heritage Group. Many thanks to Alan Potter who supplied me with the mosaic information.


  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal