Location: Cornwall, ON, Canada
In 1892 a chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) opened in Cornwall. This organization which encouraged abstinence from alcohol was also concerned with animal rights. In order to achieve this fundamental principle they were pioneers in donating combination drinking fountains/troughs with fresh drinking water for man and beast.
In 1908 a fountain erected at Fourth Street West and Pitt Street was presented to the town by the W.C.T.U. It was still operational in the 1940s. A dedication plaque was engraved, Presented To The / Town Of Cornwall / By The Ladies / Of The / W.C.T.U. / 1908.
Another drinking fountain was installed the following year (1909) in front of the old post office at Second and Pitt streets. The September 17, 1909 edition of the Cornwall Standard reported: The water was turned on at the new drinking fountain at the Post Office Cornwall (Pitt and 2nd)…and is now available for quenching the thirst of both man and beast. The new fountain, which replaces the one that has done service for a number of years, was presented to the town by the ladies of the W.C.T.U., who are having one placed at the North End, on Pitt St. The new fountain is larger and of more ornate design. The ladies of the W.C.T.U. are entitled to the thanks of the community for their thoughtful and generous gift.
The Court House at the intersection of Water and Pitt streets was also the location of a drinking fountain. It was dedicated to the memory of Judge Jacob Farrand Pringle who had served as Mayor of Cornwall in 1855 and 1856. As the date of its installation is unknown it is assumed that it was erected after his death in 1901. This drinking fountain differed from the others and photographic evidence is not sufficient to establish the manufacturer or design.
The two cast iron drinking fountains at 2nd and 4th streets were manufactured by J. L. Mott Iron Works of New York. Seated on a square base with a small demi-lune basin at ground level for dogs to drink, the pedestal contained a panel on each of four sides decorated with an orb surrounded by flourish. Each corner was bound with a highly decorated pilaster. A large trough for horses jutted into the street.
The bottom edge of the square central column was decorated with egg and dart moulding. Tall rectangular inset panels contained 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 hosted a basin for human use, and contained a lion mascaron which spouted water to be captured using a tin cup suspended on a chain.
A frieze of flora decorated the capital which originally supported an elaborately decorated urn capped with an orb and pineapple finial (symbolic of friendship and hospitality).
- 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
- 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