In the middle of a grassy area on the residential end of Pioneer Village’s Main Street sits what looks like a fountain converted into a planter. It was in fact a fountain, but not just any fountain. Walking on the grass isn’t permitted, but if you have a good eye or a good camera you can read the following on the plaque:
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL HUMANE ALLIANCE
HERMON LEE ENSIGN
This was a drinking fountain, not only for humans, but animals as well. Looking at the photo on the right, you’ll see five small holes on the side of the upper portion. This shows where spigots were once mounted. From these spigots (usually with a lion’s head design) poured a stream of water for humans to drink from. The water emptied into the large bowl which was for horses. At the bottom of the fountain water dripped into smaller bowls for shorter animals like dogs and cats.
In the early 20th Century, Americans were increasingly concerned about improving living conditions for the country’s quickly growing cities. Public drinking fountains were not as common as they are today. The National Humane Alliance donated these fountains to cities all across the country. At one time, there was at least one in each state of the union. The fountain in Pioneer Village was originally located in Salt Lake City on the State Street side of Washington Square. It later became part of the original Pioneer Village collection when it was located in Salt Lake City. I have yet to find out when it was removed from Washington Square and how long it has been a part of the Pioneer Village collection.
Covotsos, Louis John, Mark M. Hopman, Merle Jacob and Carol Kaulfuss. The Illinois Humane Society: 1869 to 1979, Rosary College, Chicago. 1981.
National Humane Alliance Fountains. ElectronicValley.org, 2 Jul 2010.
A Watering Trough For Horses. ElectronicValley.org, 2 Jul 2010.