Tag Archives: Oregon

Temperance Fountain

Location: La Grande, Oregon, USA

The statue located downtown at the entrance to the park in Max Square, at the corner of 4th St. and Adams Avenue, is an historical bronze reproduction of ‘Cast Iron Mary’, an original Temperance statue which surmounted a drinking fountain.

Dedicated on September 7, 1904, at the intersection of Adams Avenue and Elm Street, the fountain was funded by the town’s chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to discourage the use of alcoholic beverages in a town that hosted 20 saloons, 6 bordellos, pool halls, gambling facilities, and a brewery.

With the advent of the automobile, the busy commercial intersection of Elm Street and Adams Avenue was paved in 1912, and the fountain was moved to the intersection of Depot and Fourth Streets.

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In 1916 Oregon’s Legislative Assembly prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol. Although the local brewery, bordellos and saloons closed, alcohol was still peddled in the form of moonshine by bootleggers. On the night of April 22, 1922, George Noble, a local bootlegger, who was fleeing from police, lost control of his automobile and crashed into the fountain. The bootlegger escaped unharmed, but the fountain was toppled and the statue crashed to the ground. Cast Iron Mary was decapitated. The fountain was not replaced due to a decline in its use, and the statue was repaired and sold to the officials of a Texas town.

A fund raising effort to re-erect the statue with a small drinking fountain was initiated as the Cast Iron Mary Project. A concrete pedestal was cast and a replica of the statue created from historical photographs. It was cast in bronze at Valley Bronze and installed at Max Square on 7 August 2003. The bubbler fountain was added in 2004 thus completing the project.

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The original drinking fountain was a casting by J. L. Mott Iron Works and was seated on an octagonal plinth. A single pedestal with canted corners supported two large fluted horse troughs above which were 3 rectangular panels for decoration or dedication. Two demi-lune basins for humans were located at each side within elongated rectangular panels. Drinking cups attached to chains were filled from dolphin mascaron spouts located beneath the cornice. At ground level there were small basins for the use of dogs.

The statue of Hebe holding a jug in her right hand with her left hand on her chest was the casting of a sculpture by Giuseppe Moretti. Although officially named “Temperance,” the town denizens called her “Cast Iron Mary.” She was mounted on an elaborately decorated octagonal base with an engraving W.C.T.U. 1904.

 

Glossary:

  • Canted corner, an angled surface which cuts of a corner
  • Cornice, a molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • 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
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.

 


Hebe Fountain

Location: Roseburg, Oregon, USA

The temperance movement which began in the early 19th century advocated moderation in alcohol consumption. The belief that alcohol was responsible for many of society’s ills made this social movement popular around the world. In Roseburg, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Mental Culture Club now known as the Roseburg’s Women’s Club, donated a fountain to the city as an alternative to quenching thirsts in saloons.

The 12 foot high fountain surmounted by a statue of Hebe was erected on the corner of Cass Avenue and Main St. contrary to the Mayor’s concern that it would be a traffic hazard. It was dedicated on September 30, 1908 and provided water for horses and dogs in addition to humans. Four years later the Mayor was proven correct when a team of runaway horses pulling a wagon crashed into the fountain toppling the statue. The fountain was removed and the statue lost.

In 2002 during planning of the restoration of historic Roseburg Town Center the Park Commission recommended that a replica of the fountain be placed in Eagles Park. Fundraising by a local group assisted in the erection of the fountain in the park on Jackson Street. It was dedicated on 30 September 2007 and unveiled by Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich who took the first drink from the fountain.

The original structure cast by J. L. Mott Iron Works was seated on a square base with pilasters on each corner. Two small demi-lune basins were located at ground level for the use of dogs, and at the front was a large trough to accommodate horses. The bas-relief enrichment on the trough was also displayed on the three base panels. The pedestal contained four inset panels with lion mascarons, and on three sides were demi-lune basins for human use. The terminal was a statue of Hebe, classically dressed, holding a pitcher at her right side and a cup in her raised left hand.

A plaque with legend relating the history of the ‘Hebe’ fountain is at the rear of the current structure.

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Glossary:

  • Bas-relief, sculpted material that has been raised from the background to create a slight projection from the surface
  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • 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
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 


Carter Memorial Fountain

Location: Ashland, Oregon, USA

This memorial drinking fountain on Main Street East was donated to the city of Ashland by family members in honor of Henry and Harriet Carter, an Iowa couple who settled in the city and founded the Bank of Ashland. It was dedicated in 1910 and is a principal feature of the Downtown Historic District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The fountain containing a 12 foot pedestal and a 5 ft. 4 in. statue was manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works and sat on a double tiered rectangular plinth. A large square base contains a small well for dogs on all four sides at ground level, and a trough which surrounds the pedestal. On four sides, there is a lunette containing a lion mask within armoria, flanked by acanthus. A column extends above with fleur de lys armoria, laurel frieze and two consoles bearing globe lanterns. As seen in photographic evidence, the lanterns changed shape possibly with the introduction of electricity. The current lamps reflect the original globe style. The capital supports a statue representing a pioneer holding a downward facing flintlock rifle in the crook of his right arm whilst shading his eyes with his left hand. Originally his right leg was relaxed whilst the left leg bore the weight of his stance (this stance is called contrapposto). The statue was nicknamed Iron Mike, and contrary to this nickname, it was actually made of a zinc alloy.

The fountain and the statue have suffered numerous instances of vandalism and damage. The plumbing was damaged in 1932 when the structure was hit by a car. An electric fault from an underground cable in 2013 caused a power outage in downtown Ashland and created a light show as sparks flew out of the top of the statue. ‘Iron Mike’ has been vandalised several times by people compelled to climb the fountain. He has fallen to the ground causing breaks in the leg, arm and gun. His right arm has been ripped off twice, and his hand and gun which recently went missing were found several blocks away.

Repairs which were made in the 1980s to his leg also changed his stance so that both feet are now flat on the pedestal. Ashland Forge reattached the gun in 2002; and in 2008, the statue was discoloured by flames when a man climbed the statue and burned an American flag to protest the Iraq War. The damage and repairs have had a cumulative effect of weakening the statue and cracks have appeared on the leg, knee and foot. The 105 year old statue was removed from the fountain in 2014 to evaluate the cost of restoration.

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Glossary

  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Armoria, shield, coat of arms, crest
  • Capital, The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Console, A decorative bracket support element
  • Contrapposto, stance where one leg bears the weight and the other leg is relaxed
  • Frieze, The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Lunette, The half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Plinth, Flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests.