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Fayette Garden Club, Washington Garden Club, and the City of Washington Court House

Many times aging structures are viewed simply as 'old'. We may pass them every day without realizing the unique treasure that lies before us. Such is the fountain in the Washington Cemetery. Records indicate that this fountain was erected in 1892. Originally it was situated where it could be seen by all entering the front gate of the cemetery. In 1904 it was moved to the lake area in the center of the cemetery where it was surrounded by gardens and walkways. It became the center for many activities including memorial celebrations and family outings.

Over the years the pump wore out, the lake was filled in to save maintenance money, and the fountain fell into disrepair. The three cherubs that graced the second tier of the fountain disappeared and urns situated on the basin were broken or went missing. The once proud fountain fell into miserable disrepair. The fountain was originally purchased from the J.W. Fiske Company, perhaps after Washington Court House residents saw a similar fountain in Lancaster. J. W. Fiske Company of New York City was the most prominent American manufacturer of decorative cast iron and cast zinc in the second half of the nineteenth century. In addition to fountains, they produced statues and cast-iron garden furniture, as well as many cast-zinc Civil War memorials.

According to Eleftherios Karkadoulias, a bronze art specialist who is knowledgeable on Greek mythology, each part of the Fountain has a meaning. His interpretation of the Washington Cemetery Fountain is that the two bottom statues represent women who are mourning for the loss of loved ones. The three cherubs on the second level are the angels who are the messengers between the Lord and the women in mourning. And, the lady on the top of the fountain is soothing the pain of the women below by sprinkling water on them. The lady may also be the 'Lady of the Healing Water' through whom the water is healing the wounds of the body and soul.

Very few of these early Fiske fountains are known to have survived to this day. The Karkadoulias Bronze Art Company specializes in restoration of such fountains and is aware of only 5 similar fountains. The Karkadoulias Company had the molds and specifications of the Washington Fountain, which enabled the company to renovate the fountain to its original elegance.

The Garden Clubs of Fayette County took on the ambitious project of raising money for the restoration of the historic fountain, and over a 7-year period, $95,000 was raised. This included selling memorial bricks to create a lasting tribute to donors.

The fountain was moved to the Kardadoulias Bronze Art studios in Cincinnati, where it was rebuilt and refurbished on the inside as well as on the outside. The paint and decay were removed, the structure was strengthened, and the triple fountain water system was made operable. Following careful restoration and rehabilitation the Fountain once again graces the Washington Cemetery in the area between the Judy Chapel and the Washington Mausoleum.

2011 Awards 
Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here to return to the list of 2011 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

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