Category Archives: United States of America

Starkweather Fountain

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

When water mains were installed in the city of Ypsilanti in 1889, Mrs. Mary Ann (Newberry) Starkweather donated an elaborate drinking fountain which was erected on the southeast corner of Huron & Congress outside the Ypsilanti Savings Bank (now City Hall).

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Source: Ypsilanti Historical Society

The 12ft. 6ins. tall fountain manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York was seated on an octagonal granite plinth. The base consisted of a single octagonal pedestal with attic base and canted corners.

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Eight arched cornices contained dolphin mascarons which are symbolic of guardians of water. On the east and west sides, mascarons spouted water into demi-lune basins for human consumption. Drinking cups were suspended by chains. Horses drank from two large demi-lune fluted troughs on the north and south sides. Overflow water fed basins at ground level for the refreshment of small animals. A plaque between the dog troughs was inscribed with the maker’s name, The J.L. Mott/Iron Wks. N.Y.

An attic base supported a short square column containing 4 inset panels bounded by pilasters. Within the panels, 3 cartouches contained bas-relief and a fourth cartouche offered an engraved plaque. The capital supported a five feet tall bronze statue of a Greek goddess standing contrapposto. The figure of Hebe classically dressed in flowing robes was sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen. She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera, the goddess of Youth and Spring, and cup bearer of the Gods. She gazes at the cup of immortality as she raises it with her left hand. A jug is held with a lowered right hand beside her thigh.

In April 1932 the fountain was dismantled for repair, with the intention of placing it in the park behind Ladies Library. However, it was put into storage (possibly due to a new awareness of sanitation). In 1935, the short column and statue were detached from the fountain structure, and erected at the entrance to Tourist Park on Catherine Street.

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There are numerous unsubstantiated tales regarding the fate of the separated fountain base and statue which have been lost for decades. One of the most likely is the requisition and destruction of ornamental iron decorations as raw material for the war industries.

Glossary

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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

 

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Market Street Fountain

Location: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

If you mention the fountain in Bloomsburg most people will immediately refer to the David Stroup spray fountain situated in Market Square intersecting with West Main Street. However, there is a small cast iron drinking fountain located outside the public library.

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The Stroup Fountain and the drinking fountain were simultaneously erected in October 1892 with the latter originally erected at Post Office corner. The Town Council erected this drinking fountain in response to a petition requesting a drinking source for men, dogs and horses.

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It was restored in 1991 and placed in front of the library on Market Street.

The drinking fountain is casting #14 by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. It has a circular base with a trough for dogs at street level and a short bulbous pedestal with flora design. The cornice, decorated with acanthus frieze, sits beneath the capital which supports a finial resembling a pineapple. A lion mascaron originally spouted water into a small basin designed for human use. A large trough for horses facing the road is supplied with water by a lion mascaron.

A manufacturer’s plate is attached above the small basin; J.L. Mott N.Y.

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Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • 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
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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

 


Columbus Man and Beast Fountain

Location: Columbus, Georgia, USA

In 1890, a contract between the Water Works Company and the city included provision of an ornamental fountain to be placed in front of the courthouse (this fountain is now located at Fourth Street and Broadway.) Three other Victorian fountains situated along Broadway clarify the adopted name of Fountain City.

Design #14 by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York has a circular base with a trough for dogs at street level and a short bulbous pedestal decorated with flora. The cornice, decorated with acanthus frieze, sits beneath the capital which supports a finial resembling an urn surmounted with globe. A lion mascaron spouts water into a fluted basin designed for human use. A large trough for horses is located on the opposite side.

A historic marker furnished with details is located on site; Fit For Man And Beast / This watering fountain at Broadway and 10th / Street represents the last one of several located / in each block down Broadway. It is Columbus’ / oldest public fountain, dating back to the earliest / days of the city. Called the Man and Beast / fountain. It contains three watering bowls, one / at street level for dogs, a large one in the middle / for horses, and a medium-sized one near the top / for people. Although we no longer go to public / fountains to collect drinking water, fountains / offer our community an identity and sense of / history in our public spaces. / Erected By / Historic Columbus Foundation, Inc. / Historic Chattahoochee Commission / 2008

hmdb marker

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • 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
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

Pedestal


Brattleboro Drinking Fountain/Horse Trough

Location: Brattleboro, Vermont, USA

A cast iron drinking fountain for the use of man and beast was erected on the corner of Main Street and High Street in July 1872. It was located near the old oak tree in the hope that the water source would discourage the consumption of beer and alcohol. In 1875 complaints that there was little water flow may have been the reason that its usage declined.

Photographic evidence reveals that the fountain was still in place in 1907. The date when it was replaced with a fire hydrant is unknown as is the fate of the fountain.

The manufacturer of the cast iron octagonal pedestal fountain which offered a supply of drinking water to humans, horses and smaller animals is unknown. Inset arched panels and rosettes decorated the pedestal. A fluted, recessed, demi-lune basin with a cup suspended on a chain offered a drinking receptacle for humans. On the opposite side a fluted trough was offered for the refreshment of horses. Water flowed from lion mascarons into the horse trough and the small fluted demi-lune basin situated at ground level for the convenience of dogs.

same model

This fountain in San Francisco is the same model but manufacturer is unknown

Glossary:

  • Demilune, 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
  • Rosette, a round stylized flower design

 


Centennial Fountain

Location: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

In 1899 a sandstone drinking fountain was installed in the square outside Franklin Hall on Main Street. It was donated and maintained by the Women’s Club of Mechanicsburg. However, by 1906 it had deteriorated, and a decision was made to replace it in celebration of the upcoming Mechanicsburg Centennial celebrations. The new fountain was erected in front of Franklin Hall in 1907 following a successful campaign of public subscriptions.

1908 franklin hall

The fountain is just visible near the tree in this grainy image

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In 1926 Franklin Hall was demolished and the following year the First Bank and Trust Company was built on the site. A motion to remove the fountain, as it no longer served its original purpose due to the advent of the motor vehicle, was recommended and passed. It is unknown what happened to the fountain at this point in history although it is likely that it was put into storage.

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During celebrations of the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the cast iron drinking fountain was restored and installed on the lawn behind the Washington Fire Company No. 1’s firehouse. It remains there today with noticeable deterioration and damage.

 

The cast iron structure which was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York offered water to man and beast. Seated on a square base with a small demi-lune basin at ground level for dogs to drink, the pedestal contains a panel on each of four sides decorated with an orb surrounded by flourish. Each corner is bound with a highly decorated pilaster. A large fluted trough for horses which jutted into the street was fed with overflow water from a small demi-lune basin via a shallow moat.

The bottom edge of the square central column is decorated with egg and dart moulding. Tall rectangular inset 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 hosts a basin for human use, and contains a lion mascaron which spouted water to be captured using a tin cup suspended on a chain.

A frieze of flora decorates the capital which originally supported an elaborately decorated urn capped with an orb and acorn motif symbolizing that the roots of a family or institution are old and deep. The cap and finial are currently missing and the urn is damaged.

A plaque is inscribed; Erected By The Efforts Of The Women’s Club Of Mechanisburg, August 14, 1907, To Commemorate The Centennial Of The Borough.

1907 ebay

Glossary

  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • 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
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • 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

Tornado Memorial Park Fountain

Location: Monticello, IN, USA

The drinking fountain located in Tornado Memorial Park was originally situated outside the old White County Courthouse which was demolished following one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.

On 3 April 1974, 148 tornadoes formed in a 24 hour period. A tornado spawned by an intense supercell thunderstorm struck Monticello ravaging the central business district and destroying most of the downtown. The roof of the historic courthouse built in 1894 was ripped off and the clock tower toppled. The tornado was later classified as an F4.

The Tornado Memorial Park was completed in 2010 featuring the drinking fountain which had once stood in front of the courthouse.

The drinking fountain is casting #14 by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. It has a circular base with a trough for dogs at street level and a short bulbous pillar with flora design. The cornice, decorated with acanthus frieze, sits beneath the capital which originally supported a finial resembling a crown. A lion mascaron spouts water into a fluted basin designed for human use. A large trough for horses is located on the opposite side.

Glossary:

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • 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
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Mascaron, a decorative element in the form of a sculpted face or head of a human being or an animal

 


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.

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Glossary

  • 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.