Historic Torrington Fountain moves to Franklin Plaza



TORRINGTON – The granite fountain that has stood on the lawn in front of City Hall for decades will soon have a new home.

The fountain, designed by the Olmsted brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, once stood on Main Street at the intersection of East Main Street, where the Five Points Gallery is located. This summer it will be moved to Franklin Plaza.

“The Olmsted brothers were landscape architects and it was a watering hole for horses,†said Mark McEachern, executive director of the Torrington Historical Society. “It was set up right on Main Street, before there was any islands or a rotary or something like that. Then when the intersection was changed, later in the 20th century, it was moved to Coe Park. There was no running water, it was just moved there like a sculpture, more or less.

“Then one of the previous city administrations moved it to the town hall and made it work like a fountain again. He’s been there ever since, he said. “Franklin Plaza’s location will make it a centerpiece. It is much more appropriate there.

The Olmsted brothers include Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., a Hartford native who was famous for his work on parks and roads, campuses and estates in Connecticut and other places across the country, according to www.olmsted.org. Among his designs are Central Park and Prospect Park in New York.

The fountain was a gift to the town from the local Daughters of the American Revolution, according to McEachern and Mayor Elinor Carbone.

City council voted on Tuesday to allocate $ 34,440 to pay Yield Industries LLC to move and install the fountain in the plaza. Franklin Plaza is a park and falls under the recreation department.

The city plans to use a grant of $ 27,822 for the creation of an art square and $ 6,618 from the recreation department’s capital budget to pay for it.

During the council’s fundraising discussion, Member Sharon Waagner said she was voting against because she didn’t think it was appropriate to use the recreation department’s money. “This is totally unacceptable, especially after (the department) surprised residents and organizations earlier this year with an increase in fees,†she said. “The closure of the municipal swimming pool … makes me question this department’s budgeting and long-term planning.”

Director of Public Works Ray Drew and Carbone said part of the recreation department’s funding did not come from its operating budget. “This is from the capital expenditure budget, not the budget of recreation department director Brett Simmons,†he said.

“This is a fund that we are setting aside for improving the fleet,†Carbone said. “It’s a small amount of money, and anyone who knows anything about the fountain knows it’s a Frederick Olmsted fountain that was commissioned by the DAR. It was installed on July 6, 1921, 100 years ago this week. It’s in a dark place, and moving it to a high-profile location will bring a lot of joy to people.

Waagner said she was voting no “on principle” because she believed the recreation department could use the money for programs and find a way to open the city’s swimming pool or complete a proposed playground. to help residents stay cool during the summer heat.

Council member Ann Ruwet said it was an important part of the town’s history.

“This is a capital project and a historic downtown element,†she said. “I support him.”


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