Davenport, Iowa Fountain

Davenport, Iowa received this beautiful fountain with its own addition of the electric globe light on top in 1906. Louis Seaver, Secretary of the National Humane Alliance had visited with members of the Scott County Humane Society to work out the details of the agreement which spelled out the location on Harrison Street just below Second Street. It was believed that this was the 13th fountain distributed by the Society. It was also believed that Hermon Lee Ensign, the benefactor whose funds made the fountain distribution possible lived in Davenport and went to high school there. He worked as a telegraph operator and managed the local office before moving to New York and getting his start in the advertising business where he created his fortune.

It was a great success early on, but as with many other communities increasing automobile traffic became a problem, It was first moved along Harrison Street to facilitate traffic flow. However, the fountain was eventually moved to the foot of Howell Street and by 1927 newspapers referred to it as "junk". Shortly after, the fountain was taken apart and stored until being reassembled and placed in front of the main building of the sewage treatment plant, but no water supply was hooked up. The Quad-City Times explained the situation in 1945 with a headline that claimed hat the, "City, Possessing Gift It Can't Sell or Give Away, Utilizing Horse Trough as Decoration". They were, of course, referring to the contract with the National Humane Alliance for the city to maintain the fountain in perpetuity. Thanks to the good people at the Richardson-Sloan Special Collections Center at the Davenport Public Library, we now believe that the fountain was removed, never to be seen again, when the sewage treatment plant was expanded in the late 1950's

Click here for the full story as recorded in local newspapers.

For more fountain pictures, click here. For a listing of all that have been discovered to date, click here.

Back to Derby Home page                                                            winner_logo.jpg (15821 bytes)