Location: McMinnville, TN, USA
On a daily basis many people walk past the Hebe statue, located in McMinnville Public Square at the south side of Warren County Courthouse, perhaps unaware that this structure was originally a drinking fountain.
The cast iron drinking fountain was donated to the city of McMinnville by Laura Davis Worley and her sister, Florence Davis, as a memorial to their parents, Captain O.W. Davis and his wife Elizabeth. A committee formed by Laura Worley with city officials unanimously selected a three level fountain to accommodate horses, small animals and people. It was installed at the east end of the park at Court Square in 1914 and dedicated on Thursday May 20, 1915.
In 1999 members of Heritage Alliance, Main Street McMinnville and the Leadership McMinnville Class of 1999 began raising funds to save the structure from further deterioration. It was removed during the renovation of Main Street in 2005, and restoration of the fountain was undertaken by local man James McGaw, a mechanical engineer and metallurgist who painstakingly restored it by hand over a 2½ year period. In 2015, the centennial of the dedication was recognized by placing a wreath at the fountain.
A square base seated on an octagonal plinth, this structure originally contained four small basins at each corner for the use of dogs. At the front of the fountain is a dedication plaque located between two cornices, Under The Auspices Of / The Woman’s Civic League / 1914. Above is a fluted basin for human consumption, and in the rear is a large fluted horse trough. Three cusped arch side panels contain the head of a Naiad. (In Greek mythology, a Naiad was a female water nymph who guarded fountains, wells, and other bodies of fresh water.) The fourth panel in the rear is engraved; Owen Watkins Davis / Elizabeth Savage Davis / By their daughters / Laura Davis Worley / and / Florence Davis.
The capital edged with rope detail and acanthus frieze supports a short pedestal decorated with bas relief in the form of reeds and a crest. Two globe lanterns are supported by elaborate consoles. A classical statue of the Greek Goddess Hebe stands on an abacus. This standing female figure is 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.)
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 holds a pitcher with a lowered right hand beside her thigh and a cup in her raised left hand with her gaze focusing on it. A plate on the base of the statue identifies the manufacturer, J. W. Fiske.
- Abacus, at the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface
- Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
- 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
- Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
- Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of two ornamental arcs or curves, such as the inner points of a trefoil
- Fluted, a long rounded groove
- Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
- Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.