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WCTU Drinking Fountains

At the 1874 organizing convention of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the members were urged to erect drinking fountains in their towns so that men could get a drink of water without entering saloons and staying for stronger drinks. Often the drinking fountains that were erected offered a place for horses to drink, another place for dogs, and of course, a place for humans to drink.

Many of the fountains erected by Local WCTU Unions are still in existence - some still giving water; and a number have been restored within the last few years. A few remain in their original location, but many have been moved to parks or other public spaces.

The enduring permanance of the WCTU fountains is attested to by this photo taken on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa, California after the 1904 earthquake. The caption reads:   "The only thing on 4th St. that remains intact."

A booklet with stories and pictures is available from orders@signal-press.org for $5.95 plus postage and handling.

Here is the list of the fountains that have been identified. If you know of the existence of another one, please contact Sarah Ward by E-mail at sfward@embarqmail.com.

We are adding images of the fountains as they become available. Click the underlined LINK of a city to view a photo in a new window. Close the window when finished to return to the list.

Alabama: Huntsville
Australia: Melbourne
Canada: Brockville, Bracebridge ** Kingston, and Quebec City
California: Arcata, ** Burbank, Fowler, ** Glendora, Hanford, Madera, Ontario, Orange, Petaluma, Reedley, Riverside, Selma, Watsonville
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach
England: London
Florida: St. Petersburg Museum of History
Georgia: ** Atlanta, Griffin
Idaho: Boise
Illinois: Chicago, Decatur, Dixon, ** Harvey, Sullivan
Indiana: Bloomington
Iowa: Edgewood, Shenandoah
Louisiana: Baton Rouge
Maine: Portland
Massachusetts: Amherst, Brockton, ** Conway, Hadley, Lee, Leominster, North Attleboro, Orange, Uxbridge
Michigan: Detroit, Lansing, Lapeer, ** Spring Lake
Nebraska: Red Cloud
Nevada: Reno
New Jersey: Cranbury, Newton, Ocean City, Salem
New Mexico: Las Vegas
New York: Allegheny, Avon, Chautauqua, Churchville, Fredonia
North Carolina: Greensboro
Oregon: ** La Grande, Roseburg
Pennsylvania: Bellefonte, ** Coudersport, Pen Argyl, Reading
Rhode Island: Block Island, Cranston, Kingston
Vermont:Norwich **
Virginia: Richmond
Washington: Anacortes, Olympia
** Newly identified after printing of booklet

Newly Discovered Fountains

The first new fountain to be identified since the booklet was printed is located in Spring Lake, Michigan.

The City Council has restored the fountain, given in 1910, restored and moved to the present location in 1988, and again restored and rededicated September 27, 2008. Several Michigan WCTUers were present for the ceremony.  Larger Image

The second "newly discovered" fountain is in the south wing on the main floor of the Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia and was erected by the Georgia Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1923. The inscription reads:

Mary Latimer McLendon
June 24, 1840 - November 20, 1921

Mother of suffrage in Georgia
Pioneer leader in the temperance cause
She made the world a wider world for
Women, a safer world for all mankind
She had the will to serve and bear
Love to do and dare
To live in the hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.

Larger Image

Here are a number of additional photos of fountains that are still in existence and have been located since the publication of our booklet. Click the thumbnail photo to see a larger image.

Near Conway, MA

La Grande OR

Norwich VT

Glendive MT

Bracebridge ON

Coudersport PA



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