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 people 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.
A booklet with stories and pictures is available from firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com
The enduring permanence of the 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."
WCTU Santa Rosa Fountain
Alabama: Gadsden, Huntsville
Canada: Brockville, Bracebridge Kingston, and Quebec City
California: Arcata, Burbank, Fowler, Glendora, Hanford, Madera, Ontario, Orange, Petaluma, Reedley, Riverside, Selma, Sonora, Watsonville
Florida:St. Petersburg Museum of History
Georgia: Atlanta, Fitzgerald, Griffin
Illinois:Chicago, Decatur, Dixon, Harvey, Sullivan
Massachusetts: Amherst, Ayer, Brockton, Conway, Hadley, Lee, Leominster, North Attleboro, Orange, Pembroke, Uxbridge
Michigan:Detroit, Lansing, Lapeer, Spring Lake
Nebraska: Red Cloud
Nevada: Las Vegas, Reno
New Jersey:Cranbury, Newton, Ocean City, Pitman, Salem
New York: Allegheny, Avon,Canton, Chautauqua, Churchville, Fredonia
North Dakota: Park River
Oregon: La Grande, Roseburg
Pennsylvania: Bellefonte, Coudersport, Greensburg, Pen Argyl, Reading
Rhode Island: Block Island, Cranston, Kingston
Washington: Anacortes, Olympia
Newly Discovered Fountains
The first new fountain to be identified since the booklet was printed is located in Spring
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 WCTU'ers were present for the ceremony.
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.
Near Conway, Massachusetts
La Grande, Oregon
Pitman, New Jersey
Canton, New York