SKOWHEGAN — There is a new cast-iron water fountain in the park at the intersection of North Avenue and Jewett Street, replacing one that was destroyed by vandals three years ago.

The Roman Fluted Magnus fountain is similar to one that was donated to the town in the early 1900s that had been at the park for decades.

“When I took over as road commissioner in ’92, the fountain was here,” Roads Commissioner Greg Dore said Tuesday as water babbled down three tiers of pools into the large basin below. “It’s been here as long as I can remember.”

The original 7-foot fountain, on a 4-foot stone-and-concrete base at North Avenue Common, and a similar fountain that’s now on Main Street were donated to the town in the early 1900s by the Coburn family.

The fountain on North Avenue Common had been restored once in the late 1990s with a Maine Department of Transportation Gateway Grant, but about three years ago someone knocked it over, breaking the base, and the fountain stopped running.

The new fountain, made by Robinson Iron, of Alexander City, near Birmingham, Alabama, cost $4,600, paid for from the town’s general fund. Work on the stone base was donated by Steve Soucy, with other expenses coming from spaghetti supper fundraisers, Dore said.

Dore said townspeople pressured selectmen to get the fountain flowing again, and selectmen in turn pressured him to get the job done. The new fountain was completed at the end of June.

“A lot of people appreciate it,” he said of the green water fountain. “They like the atmosphere — the ambience of it. I see people sitting here from time to time.”

The North Avenue Common fountain was a match to another fountain originally placed in a small grassy island on Water Street, near Notre Dame Catholic Church in the early 1900s.

In 1976, the Semper Fidelis Club restored the fountains, installed holding tanks, hooked them up to electricity and water, and landscaped the surrounding areas, said Davida Barter, reading from the town’s history of the Coburn family. The Semper Fidelis Club is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, of which Barter is a member.

In 1997, the Water Street fountain — the twin of the North Avenue one — was moved to a grassy island on Main Street, near Redington-Fairview General Hospital, and restored. The foundation was rebuilt, water and electricity hooked up, lights installed nearby, benches constructed, and shrubs and flowers planted. In 1998, the same was done to the North Avenue fountain. The barrel of the new fountain is connected to municipal water and holds about 60 gallons of water, which is looped through the fountain, cascading down the pools into the stone basin.

Dore said the same company, Robinson Iron, did the work on the century–old water fountain in Fairfield that was restored in the downtown park in 2006.

Workers took apart what was left of the old fountain in Fairfield with its cherubs, gargoyles and unearthly faces, and made the replacement sections. The company has a vast library of cast iron and zinc patterns dating back to 1854.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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