Shelbyville Fountain

Description

Located in the heart of beautiful downton Shelbyville, the fountain is often the location for rollicking street dances, lively festivals, and other summertime events.

Address

Shelbyville, KY

Contact
Additional Information

The marker text is duplicated on both sides and reads:
“Shelbyville Fountain ~ this fountain was purchased jointly in 1895 by city and county from J.L. Mott Iron Works, New York. It was erected at intersection of Fifth and Main sts. Upon the completion of Shelbyville’s first public water works. Moved in 1914 to public square to clear the street after construction of new courthouse. Figure chosen for top of fountain is “Atlantis” pattern. 1991 Kentucky Historical Society Kentucky Department of Highways 1379.”

The J. L. Mott Iron Works was established by Jordan L. Mott in New York in the area now called Mott Haven in 1828; the business was continued by his son, J.L. Mott, Jr. The elder Mott specialized in the manufacture of cooking-stoves fueled with anthracite coal. “Stoves and ranges, hot-air furnaces, parlor grates and fenders, fire irons, cauldrons and kettles, statuary, candelabra, fountains garden seats, vases, iron pipes or every kind, water tanks, &c” are mentioned in Benson John Lossing, History of New York City. Mott was interested in the patenting of inventions, but turned down President Buchanan’s offer to make him Commissioner of Patents.

At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876, an elaborate cast iron fountain, 25 feet tall, was exhibited by the company. According to the exposition review, Gems of the Centennial Exposition all of the modeling of architectural forms, basins and figures was completed by artisans of the company. Figures were molded in clay, then cast in plaster to provide the moulds for the cast iron, in a process similar to bronze-founding. The lowest “pan” or basin was ten feet in diameter, said at the time to have been the largest such cast-iron basin in the United States. Some examples of the fountain figure The Boy with the Leaking Boot in various American and Canadian cities were purchased from the company.

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