Location: Auburn, California, USA
The 15-foot-high drinking fountain was donated to the City of Auburn in 1908 by Jacob Neff, Lieutenant Governor of California. The local man had at one time been a Sheriff of Placer County. Originally erected in the intersection of Lincoln Way and Maple Street, it was removed in 1976 when it became a hindrance to automobile traffic, and construction of the Auburn Folsom Road required relocation of the fountain to its current site at the corner of the Lincoln Way and Maple Street outside Placer County Courthouse.
In 2013, following inspection of the structure it was discovered that rust was threatening the integrity of the fountain. A restoration project was approved with funding to be provided by the Placer County Historical Society through fundraising efforts. The project required the fountain to be dismantled and shipped to a restoration company.
Currently per 2016, the fountain is used as a garden centerpiece with flowering plants in the original troughs.
Originally seated on a square plinth, the cast iron structure is an octagonal design with two small basins at ground level to allow dogs to drink. Eight inlaid panels offered two large troughs to quench the thirst of horses and cattle, a single demi–lune basin for human consumption with a drinking cup suspended on a chain, and a dedication plaque; the inscription reads: Presented / To The / City Of Auburn / By / Hon. Jacob H. Neff / 1908. The capital supports a lamp pedestal with a central lantern flanked by four elaborate consoles supporting glass globes.
- Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- Console, a decorative bracket support element
- Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
- Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
There is some dispute as to the origins of this fountain now located in Aquatic Park which was previously located at 23rd and Columbia (now Florida) Streets in front of the S. Mariani & Sons hardware store.
A member of the Mariani family stated that the fountain was cast in Oakland in 1872 and acquired by her father nine years later. However, documents included in the Karl Kortum papers at the San Francisco Maritime library identify the fountain as previously outside the Hibernia Savings and Loan Society (known as Peter Donahue’s Bank) at Montgomery & Post during the 1870s and 1880s. In 1881 it was relocated outside the Mariani hardware store. Perhaps it was purchased by Mariani to be erected outside his business.
The above photograph was part of a newspaper article. The caption reads, “Not for sale is this original 82 year-old Mission fountain, owned by Walter A. Mariani, long-time hardware merchant. The City wants it for a bridle path on Sunset Blvd. Mrs. Amanda Rivera poses beside the relic.”
The move to Sunet Blvd did not come to fruition. However, it was relocated to a newly created park (the vision of Maritime Museum director, Karl Kortum ) at the Hyde Street cable car turntable and the dead-end of Jefferson Street. The fountain was donated to the park by the Mariani family where it was erected in 1962.
The cast iron octagonal pedestal fountain offered a supply of drinking water to humans, horses and smaller animals. Arched panels and rosettes decorated the column. A fluted, recessed, demilune 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 a lion mask. Small fluted demilune basins were situated at ground level on the remaining two sides for the convenience of dogs. Overflow water from the basins above was released from a lion’s head mask.
A small engraved plaque inset to the ground states, A Gift To The State Of California By The Pioneer Mariani Family. The Grandfather, James Mariani, Arrived On These Shores In 1852. Presented In The Memory Of The Father, Stephen Mariani, Who Purchased The Fountain In 1881 To Place In Front Of His Establishment At 23rd And Florida November 1961.
• Demilune, half moon or crescent shape
• Fluted, a long rounded groove
• Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
Location: Point Richmond, CA, USA
We have the Women’s West Side Improvement Club to thank for the Indian drinking fountain located at Park Place & Washington Avenue (once known as the Triangle, and more recently as Indian Statue Park.)
After researching options a design was selected from J. L. Mott’s catalog which would accommodate humans, horses and dogs: casting #53, Indian Chief.
The fountain was delivered in August and unveiled at a public ceremony on 4 September 1909. The merchants of Point Richmond closed business for 2 hours for the unveiling.
The statue fell to the ground in 1946 when a driver leaving a local bar crashed into the structure with his truck. The Indian was removed, and the metal was recycled to assist in the war effort.
In 1956 the WWIC lobbied the City to restore the fountain to its original state. The Public Works Department suggested that the horse trough was no longer required, and that only one basin should be retained as a water well, converting the remaining two basins into planters.
The fountain base was removed during the 1960s during renovation of the area known as the Triangle.
In 1982 plans to redesign this area raised the idea of replicating the Indian statue. Funding for a new statue was successful thanks to many local contributors. San Francisco Foundation and Skaggs foundation of Oakland were the major benefactors. The statue, sculpted by Kirk St. Maur, is not an exact replica of the original as can be seen in the attached photos. A comparison of the differences is detailed below. The statue was mounted on a granite base and rededicated on 20 October, 1984.
The water supply to the fountain was cut off in 2002 due to repeated vandalism. Funding to make repairs was organized two years later; however the cost was prohibitive, and the project cancelled.
Three bronze plaques relate the story of the Indian Statue Fountain.
- “THE SENTINEL” / KIRK ST. MAUR / SCULPTOR / DEDICATION / OCTOBER 20 1984 / MAYOR THOMAS J. CORCORAN / CITY OF RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA / HISTORY OF THE INDIAN STATUE / THE FIRST INDIAN STATUE WAS COMMISSIONED AND DEDICATED / AT THIS SITE IN 1909 BY THE WOMEN’S WEST SIDE IMPROVEMENT / CLUB. LOST TO THE RAVAGES OF TIME, THE STATUE FELL AND / BECAME SCRAP METAL FOR THE WORLD WAR II EFFORT. / MANY HAVE JOINED TOGETHER FOR TODAY’S DEDICATION. THE / HISTORICAL INTEREST IN THE CHOICE OF A NATIVE AMERICAN / REMAINS THE SAME: HIS FREEDOM LOST IN OUR PAST IS A / REMINDER OF HOW PRECIOUS FREEDOM IS AND HOW / PRECARIOUS SURVIVAL REMAINS.
- THE STATUE AND POINT RICHMOND TRIANGLE / RENOVATION HAS BEEN MADE POSSIBLE / THROUGH THE VISION OF ROD GARRETT AND / THE FOLLOWING CONTRIBUTORS: / THE SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDATION / CHEVRON RESEARCH COMPANY / THE ATCHISON TOPEKA AND SANTA FE RAILWAY /A comprehensive list of donors…
- ….THE POINT RICHMOND / HISTORY ASSOCIATION AND THE POINT RICHMOND / BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, REQUIRED ENTHUSIASM / AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT, DONATIONS HAVE BEEN / GIVEN IN THE NAMES OF THE FOLLOWING: / A comprehensive list of donors follows… / INDIAN STATUE DAY – OCTOBER 18,1986
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 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 two small wells for dogs, a trough for horses and three demi basins for humans. On four sides, there was a lunette containing a frieze with lion masks. A column extended above with laurel decoration, guilloche and two consoles bearing globe lamps. The capital supported the Indian figure.
The original statue: In his right hand the Indian Chief held an arrow, and in his left hand he held a bow attached to a base near his left foot, which rested 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 balanced the sculpture. He was 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.
The current statue: In his left hand the Indian Chief holds a bow attached to a base near his left foot, which rests on a rock. A feather protrudes from the back of his head. A strap is worn diagonally across his chest from the left shoulder to right hip. He wears a cloak, a breechcloth (fabric tucked into a belt that covered the front and back), leggings and boots.
- Capital, The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
- Console, A decorative bracket support element
- 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
A statue of a boy standing with his feet apart, his right foot bare, pant leg rolled above his knee, holding a leaking boot with his right hand, is known by many names: the Little Fireman, the Immigrant, the Unfortunate Boot, and most commonly the Boy with the Leaking Boot. There are many of these statues throughout the world most of which stand in the centre of a fountain with water spraying from the toe of the boot. A few of them were actual drinking fountains.
The statues which were created as actual drinking fountains were purchased from J.W. Fiske and Co. and J. L. Mott Iron Works both companies from New York, NY. The description in the catalog stated that it was furnished complete with a ground basin fitted with drinking fountains. The drinking fountains were fitted with self closing faucets and pipes and also drinking cups. There were two sizes of basin offered; the larger fountain offered 8 drinking fountains and 16 drinking spouts; the smaller basin offered 4 drinking fountains and 8 drinking spouts.
In an attempt to prevent children from entering public bars to get fresh drinking water, Sergeant D. E. Nichols of the Salvation Army initiated public subscriptions to fund the purchase of a drinking fountain from J. L. Mott Iron Works.
It was erected in 1895 at Van Ness and Mariposa on the lawn in front of the Fresno County Courthouse. The statue stood in the centre of an octagonal drinking fountain with eight spigots to supply water. The pipes were cooled by blocks of ice, and the water was retrieved in tin cups attached by chains.
It was relocated in 1921 and after repeated damage and vandalism it was placed in storage. A lost item it was replaced with a bronze copy in 1947 and erected in a different location. In 1954 it was moved once more. Vandalised again with the loss of the boot, it was returned to storage in 1969. In 1997 it was again restored, and placed in the Fresno County Plaza on Tulare Street.
The drinking fountain in Houlton was purchased from J.W. Fiske Iron Works with a monetary donation from Mrs. Clara P. Frisbie in 1914. Located in Pierce Park the octagonal base fountain was erected in 1916. Eight drinking fountains supplied water with cups suspended on chains. The base offered troughs for animals.
The statue has been repaired and restored many times by volunteers with experience in metalwork and painting, and it was discovered during restoration that the original colour of the Boy’s shirt was green. Throughout the years since 1973 the Rotary Club has donated money to assist with the restoration. Local companies have donated materials and Houlton Water Company absorbs the cost of water and a security light for the fountain.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
This statue was ordered from the J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York City and installed in 1895 in the center of the Public Square outside the fire station. The drinking fountain offered several side jets with suspended cups from which people could drink, and a walled basin near ground level for the animals. The statue has been damaged, vandalized and parts stolen over the years.
Within a year the fountain sustained damage when a team of horses and later a runaway mare caused considerable damage. A man driving in a horse drawn carriage also collided with it. The disappearance of the Boy’s leaking boot caused an uncontrolled spray. In an attempt to correct the malfunction a short piece of pipe was installed and a rubber tube was wrapped around the Boy’s torso and leg which gave him the nickname, The Snake Charmer. The fountain was repaired and the statue repainted in silver. Two years later one of the statue’s legs was broken affecting the flow of water leaving little in the basin for horses to drink.
In 1914 the city removed the fountain where horses had watered for 20 years. The statue which had been discarded in a field behind the Engine House was rescued by local firefighters and placed in sewer pipe outside the station. The missing boot had never been replaced and in 1936 it was decided that the boy should something in his hand. Five years later the statue was repainted and adorned with a creel and net, a rod under his left arm and a trout hanging from his right hand.
When Engine House No. 1 was relocated to the corner of Franklin and Division streets the statue was stored in the basement. An unsuccessful attempt to restore the boy by Art students at the University of Wisconsin led to its disappearance for nearly two years. Once again the fire department came to the rescue creating a pedestal and pool for the boy with his new concrete legs and vinyl boot. Each summer after 1975 he was dismantled for maintenance by the fire fighters.
Yet again vandals struck and in 1988 they pushed the statue off its pedestal causing decapitation and a hole in the torso. The cost to repair the statue was expensive and although a fund was started the money raised fell far short. Local craftsmen stepped in to repair the statue, volunteering their time and materials. The boy with the leaking boot was placed back on the fountain in a rededication ceremony in 1989.
Vandalism reared its ugly head in 1998 when the statue’s head was stolen although thankfully it was returned a few days later and once again restored locally. A concrete casting of the statue was made and erected in 2009 with a plan to house the original statue in a glass case inside Fire Engine House Number 1.