Tag Archives: Fountain Square

Walter Preston Brownlow Fountain

Location: Johnson City, Tennessee, USA

This drinking fountain is located at the east side of the railroad tracks on a triangular park on Main Street named Fountain Square. It was erected in 1904 to honor Congressman Walter Preston Brownlow of Tennessee’s First District, U.S. House of Representatives.

The fountain fabricated in Lenoir City, Tennessee, consisted of a circular base with canted corners which also served as small troughs for dogs. A fluted circular pedestal, decorated with floral frieze interposed with panels for dedication, supported a large basin 3 ft. in diameter. Eight spigots offered bubbling jets of water for humans. Horses drank from the basin/trough, and overflow water was distributed to the dog troughs through the mouths of four dolphin jambs (dolphins are symbolic of guardians of water.)

Within the basin a circular pedestal supported the 7ft. tall figure of a barefoot Greek water carrier standing contrapposto upon a rock. The figure is dressed in a long classical robe tied at the hips with fabric flaring outwards from her shoulders. Water flowed from a tall urn resting on her right shoulder which she supports using both hands. The statue was designed by Allan George Newman and cast by J. L. Mott Iron Works.

When the fountain became an obstruction to traffic in 1937, it was removed. The statue was separated from the fountain and relocated to the north entrance of Johnson City memorial stadium. In 1943 a statue of Doughboy usurped her, and with no plans for the original statue she was sent to the dump where she was rescued and stored in a barn along Watauga Avenue.

Alice Mountcastle Summers, widow of James Alexander Summers (former mayor of Johnson City who was instrumental in the statue’s fabrication) purchased the statue then in need of repair. After remarrying and relocating to Henderson, North Carolina, the statue became a fountain centerpiece in the Zollicoffer family garden.

The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce began efforts to retrieve the statue in 1973. Following Alice’s death in 1979 the home in Henderson was sold with the stipulation that the statue be returned to Johnson City. After repair and restoration the statue was erected in the main lobby of the Public Library on September 20, 1983.

After several years the statue was moved to the downtown Municipal and Safety Building’s lobby. A bronze replica of the original statue was made in April 2011 and placed at Fountain Square in September 2013.

Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Doughboy was a term used to indicate members of the US Army or Marine Corps
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Jamb, a projecting vertical post containing sculpture
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
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Diamond Jubilee Fountain

Location: Brora, Sutherland, Scotland

The drinking fountain at Fountain Square on the corner of Rosslyn & Gower Streets was erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897. Restored in 2010 as part of the village regeneration project the fountain is now located on a low square stepped plinth with diminutive modern wall enclosing a miniature garden with seating. The fountain is recorded as a Category B building and was listed in 1984.

Drinking fountain number 8 from Walter Macfarlane & Co.’s catalogue is 9 feet 6 inches high and was manufactured at the Saracen Foundry at Possilpark in Glasgow,. The structure is 9 feet 6 inches high and consists of four columns, from the capitals of which consoles with griffin terminals unite with arches formed of decorated mouldings.

Rope moulded cartouches contained within each lunette host the bust of Queen Victoria in profile and arch faceplate inscribed, 1837 Victoria Jubilee 1897. On two of the sides provision was made for receiving an inscription using raised metal letters; whilst on the other two sides was the useful monition, Keep the pavement dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

The structure, seated on a two tiered square plinth, is surmounted by open filigree dome with a crown and lantern finial. As lighting technology advanced, the lantern changed from being fired by gas to electricity as evidenced by four different lamp forms.

Under the canopy stands the font (design number 7), 5 foot 8 inches high. The basin which has a scalloped edge and decorative relief is supported by a single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and four descending salamanders, a symbol of courage and bravery. A central urn with four consoles offer drinking cups suspended by chains. The terminal which was a crane is missing from the current structure.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire, and cranes are recognized as a symbol of vigilance.

Glossary

  • 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
  • Console: a decorative bracket support element
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal