By Joan C. McCulloh
The fountain that stood in the Square of Mercersburg from 1916 until 1959 is a much-loved icon of the town. In 1915 the Borough of Mercersburg improved the Square, then often referred to as the Diamond, with paving and installation of electric lights. The Mercersburg Journal reported the installation of eight lamp posts with three bulbs each enclosed in a white glass globe. In addition at that time it was suggested that a grass plot remain in the center of the Square. In August of that year the Woman’s Club, now the Women’s Club, at a special meeting upon the motion of Miss Sadie Parker passed a resolution that “the Club make an effort to solicit for a fountain” as a fountain would be more beautiful and long-lasting than a grass plot and looked at several designs of fountains. The women, led by a committee of Mrs. H. L. Waidlich, Miss Parker, and Miss Anna Fallon, began raising money for the proposed fountain and by September had raised $381.55, noted that more people were subscribing to the project, and directed the fountain committee now of six members with the addition of Mrs. Virginia Fendrick, Miss Agnew, and Miss Nancy Rupley “to secure a catalogue and select a fountain.” By the end of the year the fountain committee reported that a fountain had been selected and ordered and would soon be in place. In January 1916 the Women ’s club authorized the fountain committee to borrow money from the club’s treasury to pay for the fountain with the understanding that the committee would repay the treasury when the subscriptions to the project were paid. In that same month the Journal reported that “several dray loads” bringing materials for the fountain had come “from the depot,” stated that the fountain would be 131/2 feet high and 18 feet in diameter, and added, ”It will be a handsome affair.” By February 1, 1916, Mercersburg had a fountain in the middle of the Square. The minutes of the Women’s Club on that day state: “The Pres. made a few remarks about the fountain which has been placed in the Public Square and asked that the club would show their appreciation of the work accomplished by the fountain committee by giving them a rising vote of thanks.” From May of that year until its removal in 1959 the Women’s Club planted and cared for flowers in the stone urns on the sides of the fountain.
After the removal of the fountain from the Square it was lost for many years until Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grove in 1991 purchased it from an antique collector in Windber, Pennsylvania, had it restored, and in September 1993 had it placed in a lot on North Fayette Street that the Groves gave to the Borough of Mercersburg. Dedicated and given to the Borough in September 1994, the fountain is once again delighting residents and visitors alike.
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