to recreate historic fountain
Emmitsburg Area Historical Society is working to install a reproduction
of the town's old fountain in time for a July dedication -- 120 years after the
original was dedicated in the center of the town square.
On Monday, society president Mike
Hillman and Luke Robinson, a manufacturer of iron
reproductions, met in Frederick to discuss the possibilities.
Standing next to an old iron fountain
at the corner of 7th and North Market streets in the city, the
two compared the fountain's design with the fountain that used
to be located in Emmitsburg. Both fountains were apparently
built from the same mold.
With the breeze blowing spray from the
elegant old fountain across the park, the two men asked each
other questions, took pictures of the fountain and
contemplated the possibilities.
Robinson, the son of the owner of
Robinson Iron in Alexander City, Ala., recently contacted
Hillman, having seen
history of the Emmitsburg fountain on Hillman's Web
site www.emmitsburg.net. Robinson's grandfather had purchased
some of the old molds used to make the fountain. Robinson said
his company can reproduce most of the sections of the fountain
from molds and can create a pattern for any missing pieces
they don't have.
At their meeting it became clear that
Robinson's company has most, if not all, of the components to
make a reproduction. That led Hillman to ask Robinson to
prepare an estimate of the cost to create one.
The Frederick fountain is probably
about 1,800 pounds of detailed iron design, he said, and a
similar new fountain could cost as much as $75,000. The cost
will depend greatly on whether his company has all of the
molds for the base that catches the water, he said.
Hillman and the Historical Society
members have been researching the history of the fountain for
some time, with the hope of eventually finding the old one.
Hillman said the reason is that the
fountain -- originally installed in 1885, and destroyed in
1927 -- was important to the culture of the town.
In 1927, the four-tier fountain was
hit head-on by a Taneytown driver. Already damaged by other
collisions, the fountain did not survive the crash.
The remains of the fountain were
probably melted down during the war, just as ties for the old
Emmitsburg railroad were melted down, Hillman said.
Hillman and fellow historian Louie
O'Donoghue prepared a detailed history of the fountain that
can be found on
The story reveals the work put into
the establishment of the original fountain. A Fountain
Appreciation Committee presided over by Samuel Motter oversaw
work on the fountain that began in September 1884. On the
100th anniversary of the town's founding -- July 3, 1885 --
the fountain was dedicated.
E. G. Smyser of York, Pa. was the
fountain's manufacturer. The fountain sections were made from
molds that were also used for fountains in the City of
Frederick -- in front of City Hall and at the corner of North
Market and 7th streets.
The difference between the fountains,
according to photos of the old Emmitsburg fountain, is height.
The similarity between Frederick's
fountain and Emmitsburg's fountain led to rumors that the
fountain at North Market was really the Emmitsburg fountain,
but Hillman said it is clear from the markings that it cannot
And there have been other stories
about what happened to the fountain.
Even as recently as this year, a
plantar that some thought was a piece of the old fountain was
installed outside the town's community center with a plaque
identifying it as such.
Hillman and the society's research has
shown that is not the case, he said.
Now, feeling certain the fountain most
likely no longer exists, the society plans to work to bring it
back in all its glory.
Hillman plans for the Historical
Society to create a committee filled with members of the
community that will be responsible for fund-raising for the
fountain. He said he has already approached a several people
in different walks of life in the community and everyone
supported the idea.
He said he hopes to get the committee
going as soon as possible with O'Donoghue taking the helm,
which is a good thing because Robinson plans to have an
estimate to Hillman in another week or so.
As to where the fountain will go - the
town square or in front of the town hall - Hillman said he is
"not wedded" to one location or the other and will leave that
decision to the committee.
Anyone interested in working with the
Historical Society on bringing a replica of the old town
fountain to the town should contact Hillman at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-477-2220 or Louie
O'Donoghue at 301-682-4222.