Public Art : Temperance Fountain
Description: The Temperance fountain was erected to
encourage people to quench their thirst with ice cold water rather than alcohol.The stone fountain consists of four
columns that support a canopy. Each side of the canopy have the words "Faith," "Hope," "Charity," and "Temperance"
chiseled. Perched on top of the canopy is a life sized bronze heron, a symbol of purity over alcohol. The
centerpiece consists of a pair of entwined mean looking heraldic dolphins.
The icy water would flow from the dolphin's snout and people would drink from a brass cup that
was attached to the fountain . The fountain also had troughs for the horses , that were filled from the
overflow (they have long gone). The cold water came from a reservoir underneath the base that had to
be constantly filled with ice. That novelty soon wore off and the city disconnected the supply pipes.
Date Unveiled: 1884
Donated By : Henry D. Cogswell, a dentist from San
Trivia : The Temperance Fountain is known as "the
city's ugliest statue".
The fountain so so disliked that in April 1945, Senator Sheridan Downey of California introduced a
Senate resolution to remove the fountain, but, thanks to World War II, Congress ignored the resolution and it is
If you think it is hideous there are two more, one in Tompkins Square Park New York City, and the
other Rockville, Connecticut. There were several others in Buffalo, Rochester, Boston Common,Fall River,
Massachusetts, Pacific Grove, California, and San Francisco but someone had the good sense to tear them down.