Temperance Fountain

Temperance Fountain

The Temperance Fountain is a fountain and statue located in Washington, D.C. donated to the city in 1882 by Henry D. Cogswell, a dentist from San Francisco, California, who was a crusader in the temperance movement. This fountain was one of a series of fountains he designed and commissioned in a belief that easy access to cool drinking water would keep people from consuming alcoholic beverages.

The fountain has four stone columns supporting a canopy on whose sides the words "Faith," "Hope," "Charity," and "Temperance" are chiseled. Atop this canopy is a life-sized heron, and the centerpiece is a pair of entwined what are supposed to be dolphins, although they apparently have scales. Originally, visitors were supposed to freely drink ice water flowing from the dolphins' snouts with a brass cup attached to the fountain and the overflow was collected by a trough for horses, but the city tired of having to replenish the ice in a reservoir underneath the base and disconnected the pipes.

It sits at the corner of Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the National Archives and has been called "the city's ugliest statue." The late NBC correspondent Bryson Rash, writing in "Footnote Washington", a 1981 book of capital lore, reported that "these unusual and awkward structures spurred the movement across the country for city fine arts commissions to screen such gifts." In April 1945, Sen. Sheridan Downey of California introduced a resolution to tear it down, but occupied with World War II, Congress ignored it and it died in committee.

The statue was originally a few blocks to the south (at Seventh and Indiana) and ironically sat in front of a busy liquor store, all the while dry itself.

The fountain is also the source of the name for the Cogswell Society, a small group of Washington professionals who have taken it upon themselves to take care of the fountain.


* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40962-2003Sep20.html ...Toasted Temperance] , "Washington Post", September 21, 2003
*Knutsen, Lawrence, " [http://hannibal.net/stories/030402/opi_0304020003.shtml Political quirks and curiosities] ", "Associated Press", March 4, 2002 (registration required to view)
*Kitsock, Greg, " [http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Park/8386/cogswell.htm All's Well That Ends With a Drink to Cogswell] ", "Washington City Paper", March 6, 1992
*Kitsock, Greg, " [http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Park/8386/cogswell.htm Fountain of Hooch] ", "Washington City Paper", January 3, 1992 (same URL as above, scroll down to see article)
*Rosales, Jean K. and Jobe, Michael R., " [http://www.kittytours.org/thatman2/search.asp?subject=9 Cogswell Temperance Fountain] ", "Who Is That Man, Anyway?", Kitty Tours.
*Rockville,Connecticut Unveils Restored Cogswell Fountain " [http://www.rockvillect.com/Cogswell/fountain.htm] " Includes photos, and background on the Cogswell Fountains in genera; news stories, history and links.

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