When John Lay laid out the Aubert Place subdivision in 1857, a central oval-shaped area was reserved for a park space. In 1889, Lay donated the oval area to the City; it was named Fountain Park, because of the fountain that was placed there as a gift from the Merchants Exchange. The fountain had been in the Exchange’s trading hall for some years as a gift from John A. Scudder. Previously, it had graced Scudder’s home near Grand Avenue and Olive Street. As an outdoor fountain, it proved to be a failure. It was constructed of flimsy materials causing the figures to be blown down during any ordinary storm. Also, the diameter of the iron ground basin was too small in comparison to the height of the fountain, causing the spray to be carried outside of the basin by the wind. During 1904, both the old house and the large fountain received two coats of paint to improve the appearance of the area. The fountain was renovated in 1964.
William Severson of Ladue was the sculptor for the renovation of the fountain and Karl Kraus was the contractor. The cost of this renovation was $4,660. The work was done as part of $15,400 renovation of the park. The work was paid for out of the 1955 Bond Issue funds.
To renovate the details on the fountain, Severson created molds of the existing details and cast them using epoxy reinforced by fiberglass cloth. The main body of the fountain was sand blasted and repainted with zinc epoxy to protect and preserve it. New plumbing was installed and the interior of the fountain was filled with concrete to add strength. Epoxy glass cloth reinforcement was applied to the existing bowls.
The original fountain material was cast iron that had become badly pitted by the time of the renovation. It was estimated that the fountain had been in service over 50 years when finally renovated. It was the opinion of Severson that the renovation work had left the fountain in better condition then when it was cast.
Dimensions: 20′ x 8′ x 8′
Year Completed: 1857
Material: Cast iron, epoxy, paint
Owner: City of St. Louis