Fountain Restoration Proceeding
Derby Public Works Director Ron Culmo and Mayor Tony Staffieri inspect the new lions heads for the Fountain.
The restoration of the historic National Humane Alliance Fountain took a major step forward when three new lions head spigots were delivered to Mayor Tony Staffieri. The fountain was originally given to the city in 1906 (Click here for full story) and installed at the corner of Seymour and Atwater Avenue. It had been largely forgotten for decades before being moved to the Division Street entrance of the new Derby Greenway by the Public Works Department in 2006 as the first step in a planned restoration which has now been complete.
When first given to the city, the fountain provided water on three levels. There were four bowls at the base of the fountain for small animals. Above that was a large circular bowl that provided water for horses. That bowl was fed by the three lions heads through which water was pumped into the large bowl and humans undoubtedly quenched their thirst from the rapidly flowing water coming from the spigots. Over time, the lions heads were stripped from the fountain which had been moved to Founders Common years ago.
South Dakota sculptor John Lopez designed the new bronze lions heads.
After years of researching the history of the fountain, city officials were fortunate to find that Rapid City, South Dakota had a similar fountain that was restored after 50 years of abuse. As in Derby, the fancy sculpted bronze lions heads had been stolen. Rapid City turned to local artist and sculptor John Lopez to recreate the missing pieces. Though better knows for his western themed work as well as his presidential sculptures, Lopez faithfully reproduced the new lions heads to the original design and Rapid City restored their fountain. Click here to learn more about John Lopez and his work. In late 2006, Derby commissioned him to reproduce the lions heads for Derby's fountains, and they were delivered in March, 2007.
The City will be dedicating the restored fountain as part of the current enhancement project which includes benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and historic signage. The center piece for the project will be a new brick plaza surrounding the fountain and the City's new Hall of Fame. The public is invited to participate in the project by purchasing their own engraved bricks which will placed in the plaza along with the proposed new Hall of Fame. Click here to learn more.