Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fountain Park, St Louis Missouri "Lest Ye Forget It" 1908

Fountain Park, St. Louis
Lest ye forget it----


Postmarked August 7 1908
St Louis MO

To: Mr. James Moran
Dresden, Tennessee

It seems to me, that you forget old friends-very soon- or is it just some old friends?  It is well to remember in drinking through life that any old booze is better than new.

Yours for health,
K

I doubt we'll ever know who "K" was but it seems to me that he's reminding Jim Moran III that old friends are better than new.  But I could be wrong!

The fountain of today differs significantly from the fountain of yesteryear:



The land for Fountain Park belonged to John Lay (1795-1857).  Before his death he made provisions for his family which included platting the land which would be developed into a neighborhood known as Aubert Place located about 4 miles west of St. Louis. Later the park's name was changed to Fountain Park. A good history of the development can be found at the National Historic Register.

The fountain had been donated by John A Scudder and originally placed in front of the Merchant's Exchange building about 1890 with the fountain gracing a hall.  The hall was later remodeled and the fountain moved to Fountain Park in 1903.  At the dedication ceremony the fountain was christened "Scudder Fountain" in honor of John A Scudder.   In the August 2 1903 St Louis Republic the fountain was  describe as follows: " Then Charles Spalding, the 6-year old son of George M Spalding of No. 4933 Fountain avenue, and Dorothy Dodd, the 5 year old daughter of R P Dodd of No 4900 Fountain avenue, turned on the water, and five streams simultaneously issued from the fountain, falling first into the upper basin, above which is the figure of a woman pouring water from a pitcher, and then overflowing into the second basin, above which are the images of four children blowing water out of shells.  After filling the second basin, the water overflowed into the lower basin, which is 16 feet in diameter."

However, just a year later a Park Commissioner's Report said it was a failure as an outdoor fountain due to flimsy construction which is entirely possible since it had been originally housed inside of John A Scudder's home and then in a hall of the Merchant's Building.  By 1915 the fountain and base had been entirely reconstructed but in 1908, on the postcard, it looked magnificent.  

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