The town owns two historic water fountains. The colorful photograph on the front page of last Friday’s paper shows how attractive they are. But the old photograph on the back page from the collection of Donald Fish shows how important they were.
Multipurpose water fountains were essential public services in the years before there was any other public water supply for man or beast. The large basin was for horses and other animals. Water from the basin overflowed into a ring set in the base of the fountain for smaller animals.
Mugs hung on the rim of the upper basin for people. No mugs are visible in the historic photograph, which was presumably taken at the beginning of the 20th century. By then scientists and doctors had accepted the new germ theory of disease and were persuading towns to stop hanging mugs on their water fountains.
Our water fountains should be put back in their original places: one at the apex of the village green, the other near Sam Cahoon’s legendary fish market on the waterfront in Woods Hole, where it is shown in the Donald Fish photograph.
Arden Edwards’ efforts to return these two historic water fountains to their historic locations deserves our town-wide support.
Judith G. Stetson