Cogswell Temperance Fountain

June 22, 2017


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The Cogswell Temperance Fountain was conceptualized by an odd dentist called Henry D. Cogswell from San Francisco. He made lots of money from the world of mining stocks and real estates. With his belief that a lot of Americans are getting way too engrossed with alcohol, he started paying for the creation of water fountains all over US. This was also his own unique way of being remembered forever.

He was the designing mind behind every fountain which proved to be exquisite. On top of the DC fountain is a water stretch with two embracing dolphins in its center. The Cogswell Temperance Fountain does not any more supply water but there is a water fountain located nearby. Despite the idea of Cogswell to provide free drinking water to everyone, DC wonders a lot why he ever though the idea would work since it has been a known fact that waters of DC are not of good quality.

It was way back in 1888 when this neo-classical fountain was built and served as a gift from Cogswell who died in 1900. He was born in Connecticut with his father an architect and his mother died during his younger years. Their family transferred to New York and when he reached the age of nine, he went back alone to Connecticut and endured the eight years of labor in the cotton mills. As he was able to handle and manage well all his adversities in life, he emerged a victor as he held the job of a principal in Orwell High School. He pursued medicine and eventually turned out in the end as a dentist.

He went to San Francisco during the peak of the California Gold Rush in 1849. He made a total fortune of $2,000,000 out of his real estate investments and of being a dentist. He then pursued his desire of becoming a philanthropist as he founded the Cogswell Polytechnic Institute. He helped movements who were promoting “temperance” against alcohol despite claims that all his generous acts of charity were with a shade of his own self-promotion.

The total number of 50 monuments which he sponsored all over United States would serve as his most unforgettable legacy. Majority of these were different versions of the temperance fountain. A number of fountains which can be found in Boston Common, Washington DC and Tompkins Square Park have a canopy which is supported by Doric columns. All the tablatures bear words of Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance.

The building of the Temperance Water Feature in the Tompkins Square Park was due to his affiliation with the Moderation Society formed in year 1877. This group encourages everyone to drink water instead of alcoholic drinks. He became the honorary president in 1890 and this led to another creation of another temperance fountain in New York City. It has the figure of a mythical water carrier on top of stone pediment. The figure was based on the marble statue made by the popular Danish sculptor Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen.