SKOWHEGAN — Crippled and broken by vandals sometime over the past weekend, an ornate, 7-foot-tall cast iron water fountain dating to the early 1900s was back upright Thursday, if a little crooked and in need of some repair before water can start flowing through it again.

“The guys just stood it back up yesterday,” Skowhegan Road Commissioner Greg Dore said Thursday of his highway crew from the little park situated where Main Street and Middle Road diverge. “I’m thinking where it wasn’t working — the kids love to put soap in it — … they come over here and knock it over. They couldn’t put soap in it.”

Dore said he first noticed on Sunday the fountain had been knocked over.

A copper pipe that feeds water to the fountain also was bent when it was knocked over and will need to be replaced, Dore said. He said the last time the fountain was working — like its twin in another small park on North Avenue — was two summers ago.

There were problems with the water pump on this one, Dore said, so electrical power to the park was cut.

Dore said the town scraped the paint on the fountain about 10 years ago and repaired it, so it was about ready for a makeover anyway.

The Roman Fluted Magnus fountain, with four water bowls in ascending sizes and cast iron images resembling Roseville pottery, is a twin to another one, both donated to the town by the Coburn family in the early 1900s.

The other fountain was placed on North Avenue Common near Jewett Street. That fountain was replaced in the summer of 2016 after having been destroyed by vandals three years earlier. The fountain on North Avenue Common had been restored once in the late 1990s with a Maine Department of Transportation Gateway Grant.

The one that was vandalized this past weekend in what is known as Main Street Common, near Redington-Fairview General Hospital, originally stood in another grassy park near the Catholic church on Water Street, near downtown. That fountain was moved during road construction for the High Street truck route to its present location in 1997.

In 1976, the Semper Fidelis Club restored both fountains, installed holding tanks, hooked them up to electricity and water, and landscaped the surrounding areas, former Selectwoman Davida Barter said last year, 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.

The new fountain on North Avenue, made by Robinson Iron, of Alexander City, near Birmingham, Alabama, cost $4,600, paid for from the town’s general fund. On the Main Street Common, there are shrubs, a flagpole, ground-lighted trees and a park bench dedicated to David Dore, Greg Dore and his sister Davida Barter’s father, who died the year after the new fountain was installed.

The park is located on Main Street, named when that part of Skowhegan on the south side of the Kennebec River was intended to be the center of town. Maine Civil War-era Gov. Abner Coburn’s home is nearby, as is the original Bloomfield Academy and a historic church.

Dore said the Main Street Common fountain will be taken down for repairs this winter. Money from the Highway Department’s road maintenance account will be used to pay for the repairs.

“Over the winter we’ll scrape it and paint it again and put it back together,” he said.

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 there in 2006.

Workers at Robinson Iron 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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