The Friends of the Ansonia Historical Commission are hoping a 100-year old fountain at the intersection of South Cliff and Cottage Streets heavily damaged by vandals four decades ago will finally be restored to its original condition.
Over the past few months, the group has been raising money to fund the $8,250 restoration project. They hope to make repairs in the spring.
In 1910, Caroline Phelps Stokes, granddaughter of Ansonia’s founder Anson Greene Phelps, dedicated the 12-foot fountain and horse trough that sits in front of the Ansonia Public Library to Black Beauty author Anna Sewell.
Sewell was Stokes’ favorite author. Click here to learn more about the fountain.
According to Randy Carroll, chairman of the Friends of the Ansonia Historical Society, sometime in the late 1960s vandals attached a chain to the fountain from the bumper of their car and drove off, breaking its top clean off and dragging it down the street.
During the makeshift repair, the top was reattached to the fountain, but the polished granite is still chipped and cracked along its top. The trough used by horses to drink was converted into a flower pot.
Carroll said he anticipates the restoration will happen in two phases.
During phase one, cracks, chips and other damage along the top of the fountain due to the vandalism will be smoothed out and repaired.
Carroll said phase two will repair the water pump for the trough, which was intended to be constantly running when it was constructed 100 years ago.
“It is going to look really great when it is all finished,” he said.
So far, the 42-member organization has collected $6,200 for phase one through grants from the Katherine Matthies Foundation, the Valley Community Foundation and individual donations.
Carroll said the organization previously raised $18,000 in donations to restore the clock outside of the library. They are once again asking the public to help meet its goal.
“It doesn’t matter if it is $2 or $5, every little bit helps,” Carroll said.
Library Director Joyce Ceccarelli said staff and residents are looking forward to the restoration, noting the library could not afford to make the repairs on its own.
“We are excited,” she said. “We appreciate what they (Friends of the Ansonia Historical Society) are doing because it could never be done without them.”
Carroll said a dedication ceremony for the restored fountain is anticipated for later this spring.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to City Hall, 253 Main Street, Ansonia, CT. 06401 in care of Friends of the Ansonia Historical Society.