Rochester Union and Advertiser, August 29, 1883 2-6

Public Drinking Fountain

The Gift of Dr. Cogswell of San Francisco Placed in Position

In spite of rain yesterday afternoon the public drinking fountain donated to the city by Dr. H. D. Cogswell, of San Francisco was placed in the position allotted to it at the northwest corner of Court House Square. The gift was tendered under the condition that the city should provide a suitable public place for it and surround it with four lamps. These lamps are to be placed, one at each corner, fifteen feet apart. Yesterday the first opportunity was afforded for an inspection of the fountain. It is made of a new metallic composition in which there is no copper and which has a zinc-like appearance. The metal is said to be very durable. The fountain stands sixteen and one-half feet high and is surmounted by a statue of the donor, who is represented as holding a glass of water in his right hand and in his left extending a scroll on which is inscribed: "Accept this offering to my country for the good of my country men." (Signed) H. D. Cogswell, D.D.S. On the front surface of the fountain is the following inscription: "Presented to the City of Rochester By Henry D. Cogswell, a citizen of San Francisco, California. Dedicated to the material wants of our boys and girls, who will soon guide our destinies for a brief period, leaving the stamp of their own individuality, and pass on." The figure 1883 appears in the monogram above this. Below it, near the base, is the word "Welcome," and at the base on the opposite side are the words, "Monumental Bronze Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The opposite panel is inscribed as follows: "The records of A.D. 1883 deposited within will rejoice antiquarians, Man and the faithful dog will find here refreshing." The words, "Welcome" and Monumental Bronze Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut." also appear on this side. The accessories of the fountain can hardly be considered artistic or artistically arranged. The fountain is supplied with an arrangement for the application of ice to the pipes as the water flows from them. Several days will be required to complete the fountain and put it in running order.

See also,

Mark Twain's Comment - go back one page for entire entry

From Arch Merrill's Rochester Sketchbook #6,
Maybe you remember when the statue on the Cogswell fountain mysteriously disappeared from the open space in front of the old Court House - and few mourned its departure.

Main and Fitzhugh

SE corner of Main and Fitzhugh

It was presented to the city by Dr. by Henry Cogswell, a retired San Francisco dentist who cherished the hope that the sight of pure water gushing from a downtown fountain might divert saloon-bound feet. Rochester was one of 16 cities that had such fountains, each surmounted by a six-foot figure of a portly, frock coated gentleman holding out a glass. Some thought the figure glorified Cogswell himself but in reality it represented John B. Gough, the temperance crusader. Many Rochesterians looked upon the figure with a distaste as icy as the water in the fountain.

One March dawn in 1895 a wagon cluttered up to the Court House plaza, men in working clothes leaped out and began battering the statue with crowbars. After they severed John B. Gough from his pedestal, they laid him tenderly in the wagon and drove off. He was never again seen publicly in Rochester. The base remained until work was begun in 1894 on the new Court House.