W.C.T.U. Strasburg Fountain

Location: Strasburg, Pennsylvania, USA

On February 5, 1900 a request to erect a drinking fountain for Man, Beast and Dog at the center of the intersection of Main Street and Decatur Street Centre Square was granted by the council to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. The fountain, funded by subscriptions, was erected on June 13, 1900 and the dedication ceremony took place on June 29, 1900.

 

Almost two decades later, the fountain was damaged when a heavy wagon collided with it and water service was discontinued. It remained in situ for several years until it was decided that it was an obstacle to increased vehicle traffic. It was removed during the week of July 3-7, 1922. This allowed trolley tracks which had to be curved around the fountain (for the opening of the trolley line between Lancaster and Strasburg) to be re-laid in a straight line through the square.

strasburg heritage society2

Source: Strasburg Heritage Society

The manufacturer of the cast iron drinking is unknown. The overall structure resembles a fountain in Slatington PA, identified by the National Register of Historic Places as manufactured by E. T. Barnum Company of Detroit, Michigan; yet the Strasburg fountain also bears a strong resemblance to castings created by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York.

The fountain seated on a limestone base weighed approximately 2,500 pounds. The two tiered octagonal pedestal decorated with bands of foliate frieze and horizontal reeding supported a large gadrooned trough for the use of horses. A small trough was located at ground level for dogs and smaller animals.

Capture horse

Photograph compliments of Fred Lauzus

A spigot projected from a bas-relief rosette supplied water to a fluted basin for human consumption. A dedication plaque was attached above the rosette; Erected By The Efforts Of The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1900.

 

 

A cornice of egg and dart moulding was located beneath the capital which supported an urn flanked by two elaborate consoles originally supporting tear drop shaped electric globes. The urn appears to be a modification of a casting offered by J.L. Mott. A rod with three additional lamps extended from the highly decorated urn capped with a pineapple finial (symbolic of friendship and hospitality).

Capture urn

Note: I would like to thank Fred Lauzus for sharing his research and success in his long term goal of recreating this ‘lost’ drinking fountain.

Glossary

  • 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
  • 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
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • Foliate, decorated with leaves or leaf like motif
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Gadrooning, a decorative motif consisting of convex curves in a series
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Reeding, a regular series of concave grooves or convex ridges
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design
  • Spigot, a device that controls the flow of liquid

 

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