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fountain in square
The fountain in the square

fountain 2014
The fountain in 2014, behind the Washington Fire Hall

© 2005-2014 Mechanicsburg Museum Association. All rights reserved.
Late in the summer of 1899, a public drinking fountain was placed on the southeast corner of the Mechanicsburg town square in front of Franklin Hall and the Market House. It was considered a very simple model being made of brown sandstone. The fountain was the first gift given to Mechanicsburg by the Mechanicsburg Women’s Club which had been organized three years earlier. When it was installed the fountain cost $54.42, and later, for the winter months when it was not in use, a cover was made for it and the fountain was painted for which the club paid an additional $1.75.

Several years later, a Women’s Club member reported that the public fountain was in good condition and thus would cool the thirst of many a wayfarer and many a weary animal. However, by the end of 1906 when Mechanicsburg was preparing to celebrate its centennial, the fountain had become damaged and the Women’s Club was considering replacing it with a “handsome new one” for which the members were prepared to pay as much as $300. The members wished to have it formally unveiled and presented to the Borough during its 100th anniversary celebration.

The Club members were successful in obtaining enough voluntary subscriptions from the townspeople, to replace the fountain to commemorate the centennial. A new iron structure costing two hundred and eighty-two dollars, with troughs for man, horse and dog, was placed near the site of the old one and opened for public use on the 14th of August 1907. This project was completed through the energy and support of the Women’s Civic Committee. The assistance of the Mechanicsburg Water Company, the Franklin Hall and Market Association, the Borough fathers and citizens were also greatly appreciated. This cast iron fountain stood on a site in front of the current day PNC Bank, formerly the First Bank and Trust Company.

During the Borough Council meeting of September 2, 1926, there were discussions concerning the removal of Franklin Hall. The Property Commission reported that permission had been granted to store the clock from Franklin Hall, at the High School Building without charge. The Light Committee reported the lighting equipment was moved from Franklin Hall to the Police Headquarters. However, no mention was made of the public fountain that was in front of Franklin Hall. Franklin Hall was then torn down.

In a letter from Charles Eberly, Treasurer of the First Bank and Trust Company, to Mr. George Z. Fishel, Secretary of the Borough Council dated April 6, 1927 described that the Bank had discussed the fountain with Miss Clara G. Titzel, President of the Women’s Club of Mechanicsburg, and she reported that the fountain had been turned over to the Borough years ago.

While preparing the pavement in front of the First Bank and Trust Company building that had been erected on the site of Franklin Hall in 1927, the two telephone companies and the Electric Light Company cooperated and moved their poles back on the line which left the fountain standing alone with the water container protruding over the curb line.

At the Borough Council meeting held on April 7, 1927, Mr. Aulthouse of the Property Committee recommended the removal of the public fountain which stood on the square.The motion for removal was seconded by Mr. Trimble and passed. The Council believed the fountain had served its purpose, and since it had deteriorated over the last twenty years, it would be appropriate to have it removed. The minutes, however, did not state the new location.

Today, you can view the Public Fountain, minus the water supply, in the lawn behind the Washington Fire Company on East Main Street.

Beverly J. Bone