April 3, 2008

Community Group Seeking to Restore Fountain

Do you remember coming to Memphis on a warm summer evening and playing with your friends and siblings on the courthouse lawn while your parents shopped with the local merchants? Perhaps you remember being disciplined by your parents when they caught you and your friends having a water fight around the fountain. Many of these types of stories center around the water fountain located on the south side of the Scotland County Courthouse.

Unfortunately the fountain is no longer in working order. The bowl of the fountain currently sits on only a portion of its original pedestal. It achieves its height by being placed on a brick platform. In the early summer of 2007, the fountain was removed from the courthouse lawn.

“We are delighted to say that the fountain has since been returned and estimates have been obtained regarding the cost of restoring the same,” said Scotland County Community Betterment Group chairperson Batina Dodge.

The group has expanded its efforts to restore the courthouse clock to now include returning the fountain to working order.

According to articles published in the Memphis Reveille, we discovered that the fountain was originally a part of the Soldiers Memorial that is located on the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn.

The Soldiers Memorial was donated by the Betsy Ross Club in 1923 to honor the Scotland County soldiers who served in World War I. According to the news articles, an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people witnessed the dedication of the Memorial, which was described as “…a drinking fountain, with an elaborate Bedford stone roof, supported by four pillars of the same material. A marble drinking fountain will be placed within and surrounding the base will be three marble steps. The structure will rest on a concrete foundation and the names of the boys who gave their lives in the World War will be chiseled on the pillars. An electric pump will furnish the power and pressure for water from living wells.” In 1947, the drinking fountain was taken out of the Memorial and moved to the sidewalk so that a granite slab could be installed in its place. The granite slab contains the names of the Scotland County Soldiers killed during World War II.

“Our success in restoring this bit of Scotland County History will only be made possible with your contributions,” said organizer Anita Watkins. “We have obtained estimates for the fabrication of a new pedestal, which will eliminate the need for the current brick platform, and plumbing to make this an operational drinking fountain once again.”

The estimated cost for the restoration is $2,500.

The group is seeking to have the fountain in working order prior to the start of the 2008 Antique Fair this summer.

For more information on the project or to make a donation to aid the restoration efforts, contact any member of the Scotland County Community Betterment Group. Donations should be marked “Fountain Project” and mailed or delivered to the Scotland County Community Betterment Group 117 S. Market Street, Suite 100, Memphis, MO 63555.

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