Monthly Archives: August 2018

Bracebridge W.C.T.U. Drinking Fountain

Location: Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

The old drinking fountain currently located at the intersection of Manitoba Street, Entrance Drive and Ecclestone Drive originally stood near the post office at Manitoba Street and Taylor Road. It was donated to the town by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1914 and moved to its present location in 1988. The fountain was restored in 2010 due in great part to the efforts of Gary Denniss, a local Canadian historian and author.

The drinking fountain which hosts 3 large horse troughs is seated on a square base with acanthus frieze. A panel on each side is inset with stylized bas-relief. The capital supports a multi-tiered circular pillar with attic base and lion head mascarons on four sides which spouted water into the troughs. Drinking cups suspended on chains allowed humans to drink from the flowing water.

The manufacturer of the cast iron fountain is unknown.



  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration. It is symbolic of a difficult
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • 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
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

Brookline Village Fountains

Location: Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

New Englander Henry F. Jenks, a descendant of Rhode Island Governor Joseph Jenks, was an inventor who worked in numerous foundries, eventually opening his own manufacturing facility, the Jenks Iron Works Foundry where he started manufacturing fountains in 1871.

Two examples of the same pattern which furnished water for man and beast were installed in the village of Brookline.

The fountain was located outside Rhodes Bros. Co. store in the area known as Harvard Square at the junction of Washington and Harvard Streets.

A second example of this design was located at Harvard and Beacon Streets in a kerb cut-out opposite the street car shelter. It was still in situ in 1915.

Henry F. Jenks’ 24 feet high drinking fountain for man and beast was identified as #3 in his foundry catalog. The fountain manufactured in cast iron consisted of a solid base with an annular channel for use as a dog trough.

The 4ft high fluted pedestal with attic base hosted arched panels for dedication or bas-relief enrichment. A movable panel in one side offered access to plumbing.

A horse trough, 56 inches in diameter, in the form of a basin (at 4 feet 3 inches above ground level it was a comfortable height for horses to drink with ease) had the capacity to hold a barrel of water.

The centre of the basin contained a jamb from which dolphin mascarons spouted water and drinking cups were attached. Waste water was directed to the dog trough at street level. This design prevented contagious distemper.

The fountain was provided with self closing faucets and the pipes within were constructed to resist freezing in cold temperatures. Fountains were supplied both with and without an ice box attachment as desired. An ice box was placed near the sidewalk underground, which was provided with coils of tin lined pipe on which ice was placed to cool the water flowing through the coils to the outlet of the fountain.

The highly decorated finial with floral relief and a studded band terminated in an orb. The structure was also offered with a gas lantern extension.

A patent was applied for this design in 1880 by H. F. Jenks with the following description;

The design contemplates supplying water for man and beast; and to this end, as a feature of utility, I provide a capacious basin for animals to drink from, and a trickling stream, from which, in a cup, a portion may be caught for human use. An annular channel in the base permits dogs and birds to drink from.

The characteristic feature in the appearance of this design is a cylindrical pedestal mounted upon a suitable base, and supporting a circular bowl, nearly hemispherical in configuration, from the center of which springs a vertical tapering stem, bearing near its base two or more dolphins or mythical aquatic creatures, represented with streams of water issuing from their mouths and falling into the bowl. This bowl is so formed and located upon the pedestal that when approached by a team the pole will pass beneath the bottom of the said bowl, so as to allow the horses on both sides of the pole to drink at the same time without any loss of time or necessity for unhitching or driving up one side at a time, as usual, to water.

The stem may be continued upwardly, ornamented, as shown, with leaves, flutes, etc., and may support a lamp or lantern, if desired, in any suitable form, or basket for plants.

In the base and surrounding the pedestal is an upturned flange, enclosing a depressed annular for water; but this feature, though ornamental and useful, is not essential to my design.

The stem and pedestal may be plain or ornamented with vines and panels, without materially affecting the general aspect of the design.

Having thus described my drinking-fountain, I claim the design for a drinking-fountain herein described and shown, consisting of the cylindrical pedestal a bowl, tapering stem and aquatic figures formed thereon, all having the form of a configuration substantially as herein set forth.


  • Annular; circular, ring shaped
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • 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


Hamilton’s Hebe Fountain

Location: Hamilton, Ohio, USA

Following the completion of a public water supply system by the City of Hamilton in 1884, First National Bank donated a drinking fountain to the city in 1890. It was located near the main entrance of the bank in the Shuler and Benninghofen block on High Street.

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Used with permission. Source: Lane Public Libraries’ Cummins Photo Collection

The two images shown below at the northeast corner of Third and High Streets show the Shuler and Benninghofen block decorated for the 1891 centennial. Note that there are only forty-four stars in the hanging flag. Click to see larger image.

The Great Flood of 1913 covering more than four-fifths of Hamilton was Ohio’s largest weather disaster, and was the most wide-spread disaster in the history of the United States. Within the city the storm dropped between 4-8 inches of rain in 4 days. The fountain which is approximately 11’ 8” high is barely visible at the right edge of the image below.

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Used with permission. Lane Public Libraries’ Cummins Photo Collection

In 1929 the drinking fountain was removed to enable construction of the new First National Bank building, and for the next 47 years, it stood in the yard of a private residence on Haldimand Avenue on Hamilton’s West Side.

First National Bank re-acquired the fountain in 1975 and discussions between the bank and the Butler County Historical Society generated a plan to restore the fountain. Hamilton Foundry recast broken and missing pieces, and a Cincinnati sculptor was retained to clean, refinish and reassemble the fountain. It was reinstalled at its original location in front of the bank at Third and High Streets in 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial observance.

In 2012, the bank now renamed First Financial Bank entered into an agreement with the city to demolish an older building at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and High Street to create a small park and relocate the fountain there in exchange for a city-owned parking area off Market Street.

When the structure was moved the maker’s plate, J.L. Mott N.Y., originally located at the front face of the capital beneath the statue, was attached to the rear of the structure where an additional plaque reads, Restored 1975 by Hamilton Foundry and First National Bank.

The fountain was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. The structure is seated on an octagonal stone plinth. It consists of a single pedestal with attic base and canted corners surmounted by a 5’ bronze statue. An inscription on the base of the statue states: Manufactured by J.L. Mott Iron Works/ Cor. Beekman & Cliff St, New York.

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Used with permission, Jacob Stone

Eight arched cornices contain dolphin masks which were symbolic of guardians of water. The fountain supplied refreshment to humans via a dolphin mascaron which spouted water into a demi-lune fluted basin facing the sidewalk. A drinking cup was suspended on a chain.

Horses drank from a large circular fluted trough facing the street from which overflow water fed two smaller basins for the refreshment of smaller animals. A plaque located above the horse trough is inscribed; First National Bank.

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Used with permission, Jacob Stone

An attic base supports a short column containing 4 inset panels bound by pilasters. The panels offered bas-relief with the option of a dedication plaque.

The capital supports a statue of Hebe, a Greek goddess, based on the 1806 sculpture by Berthel Thorvaldsen. The daughter of Zeus and Hera, Hebe is the Greek goddess of Youth and Spring, and proffers the cup of immortality at the table of the gods. The statue is classically dressed in flowing robes gathered at the waist. Her head is tilted down and to the left, and her hair is held by a headband or ribbon. Her left leg is bent and her weight is on her right leg. (This stance is called contrapposto, where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed.) She gazes at a raised cup in her left hand while holding a pitcher beside her right thigh.

In acknowledgment, I would like to thank Jacob Stone from City Hall who furnished me with several images from the Lane Public Libraries’ Cummins Photo Collection in addition to taking a current status photograph. His prompt, generous and willing assistance is to be commended.

The City of Hamilton is a sculptural hot-spot featuring in excess of fifty public sculptures around the downtown area with an equal number just a short distance away at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. Hamilton is located at the southern end of the Great Miami Riverway in southwest Ohio.


  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.