The City of Charlotte
received its fountain in 1911 and according to news accounts, it was the
last of the "expensive" fountains which we assume meant th rectangular
type rather than the circular style. It was placed at the intersection
of South Boulevard and East Morehead Street which was the only street
within a mile deemed safe enough because of the streetscapes and traffic
The Charlotte Humane
Association was responsible for acquiring the fountain and put on the
dedication ceremony which was held at 12:45 PM to coincide with recess
at a nearby grammar school so that the children could attend.
The concerns about the
location of the fountain turned out to be correct as you can see from
this 1941 newspaper
The good news is that
the fountain still exists as reported by
WBTV in Charlotte's Kristen Hampton in 2017:
If you've ever driven on
Morehead Street near Uptown Charlotte, you've been right past it -
and chances are you didn't notice.That's the same way bike messenger
Bill Fehr describes it.
"I bet I've climbed that hill a thousand times and I've never
noticed that before," he said.
Fehr sent WBTV an e-mail describing his first spotting of the giant
granite drinking fountain built in 1911 for horses to quench their
Back in the early 20th Century, Charlotte wasn't yet bustling with
cars. Horses were a major form of transportation, and horses have to
A wealthy philanthropist Hermon Lee Ensign was also an animal
advocate. In his will, he bequeathed more than $100,000 to build 100
animal drinking fountains all over the country.
One ended up in Charlotte where Morehead Street intersected with
South Boulevard. But today it sits in the front of the American City
Building closer to Church Street.
Wilkins is the project manager for American City Business Journals.
Her company found the fountain in disrepair in Elmwood Cemetery.
Once Charlotte's population of more than 2,000 horses made way for
cars, the piece of art wasn't so special anymore. The owners of ACBJ
paid to have it repaired and moved back to prominence.
"We loved the idea of having our public art, which we are required
to have, to be historical. Charlotte doesn't have much history left.
So it was great to have this opportunity," Wilkins said.
Fehr dug up historical documents and newspaper articles - Wilkins
has some too - all indicating the fountain was big news at the time.
Once it became irrelevant, it could have been lost in the shadows of
history. But it now sits for all to enjoy. And now all can know of
the kind gesture that created it.
"This still being alive today is a really great thing and I wanted
it to be shared," Fehr said. "I wanted people to have a chance to
For more on the National Humane Alliance
Fountains click here.
Derby Home page