Tag Archives: Kilbourn City

Snider Fountain

Location: Kilbourn, Wisconsin, USA

A drinking fountain was donated by Charles W. Snider to Kilbourn City (now Wisconsin Dells) in 1898, as a memorial to his wife and his brother. Originally erected at the intersection of Broadway and Superior streets, it was later installed in front of the old Kilbourn library in Broadway. In 1996 it was relocated once more to the east entrance of the present library at Elm Street.

The topic of the fountain was raised in 2005 at a Dells Country Historical Society meeting. After more than a century of deterioration, missing pieces, and cumulative layers of paint (brown & white and green & white) the structure was in need of restoration. The project was accomplished by the Robinson Iron Co. in Alexander City, Alabama. A replica of the original brass statue (now installed at the Dells Country Historical Society’s Bowman House) was cast in aluminium.

Funding for the project was achieved with an art auction and personal donations from near and far, all managed by the Save Our Fountain Committee. Mayor Craig Casey officiated at the re-dedication in 2006.

The fountain was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. It consists of a single pedestal with attic base and canted corners surmounted by a bronze statue of Hebe, the water carrier sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Eight arched cornices contain dolphin masks which are symbolic of guardians of water. Two of the mascarons spouted water into demi-lune fluted basins for human consumption. Drinking cups were suspended by chains.

Two large demi-lune fluted troughs with decorative shields protected the float valve and ball cock from damage by horses. Overflow water fed four smaller basins originally located on each corner for the refreshment of smaller 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 column containing 4 inset panels bounded by pilasters. Within the panels, 3 cartouches contained bas-relief and a fourth cartouche offered an engraved plaque. Dedicated To / Minnie Drinker Snider / And / Fred B. Snider / Like A Cup Of Cold Water To Fevered Lips Is / A Cheerful Unselfish Life In This Busy World / To Two Such Lives Which Found Happiness / In Kindness To Every Living Creature, This / Memorial Is A Tribute / Erected June 1898

The capital supports a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, dressed in flowing robes. Standing contrapposto she holds a pitcher in her right hand and a cup in her left hand.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • ontrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • 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