Broadway Fountain The People's Choice
Presented to Madison in 1886 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Broadway Fountain was twice saved from an ignominious end by the people of the Valley City. They raised money to repair the cast iron fountain in 1949 when a mayor called it decrepit beyond repair and planned to junk it to be replaced by a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.
When another mayor called it beyond repair in 1976, local banker Philip W. McCauley headed a fund drive that raised $180,000 to restore the beautiful fountain in bronze.
The restored fountain was re-dedicated in 1986 and will stand, impervious to acid rain and erosion by harmful chemicals in the air, for decades to come.
Here is a romantic story of another day and time - 1886-in Madison, IN, "The City Beneath the Hills". A group of leaders decided that Madison needed a good downtown drinking fountain and were thunderstruck to learn what they had purchased.
Gen. William McKee Dunn looked to the south as he stood in front of the largest crowd ever to visit Madison. One of this group was James H. Crozier. In the summer of 1886, Crozier was running for re-election as county auditor. A close friend of Crozier's was Joseph C. Abbot, who owned the Madison-Milton ferryboat company.
For some time, Crozier and Abbott had fretted that Odd Fellowship in Madison was in what was called by Crozier "a languishing condition; few names were being added to our rolls; little or no work was being done in the lodges; our meetings were poorly attended, spiritless and without interest; indeed, the Order was almost lifeless and daily losing ground."
A mechanism to reverse this direction was sought in informal councils of Odd Fellows whether held at the Planet Cafe and Bar on Main Street or at Arcade de Holdscroft on West Street. It was decided that what Madison needed was - A Drinking Fountain.
An edifice such as the Centennial Fountain which transpired in just under three years wasn't even thought of at the outset.
How Madison got the fountain is an engrossing story of 19th century America that makes good telling and, hopefully, good reading here in the many years of the fountain's existence.
Jim Crozier, was one of a large family of Croziers.
M.C. Garber was Editor of The Courier. He was assisted by W.S. Garber and Sidney E. Haigh. The Courier wielded a powerful pen in those days. Its columns are replete, as was the fashion of the day, with brief one-paragraph items which told more in a line than some do in a page.
This was the Madison in which James H. Crozier dwelled in 1883. He lived at 832 W. Main Street and was soon to run successfully for re-election as auditor of Jefferson County.
Another Crozier, was James A. And yet a third James, James E. Crozier, had his name on the front of the Crozier monument shop on West Main Street. One late fall evening, Crozier sat on the side lawn of his friend Jim White's house on North Broadway, east side, south corner of the alley between Main and Third Streets. joined in conversation about what to do about the dwindling interest in Odd Fellows brotherhood and work were White, J.E.C.E Harper (druggist whose store would continue until shortly after 1980), Joseph C. Abbott (owner of the Madison-Milton Ferry whose boat bore his name) and Edward Niklaus (a Madison merchant).
But Jim Crozier had an idea. One that would bring public credit to the Odd Fellows, please the movers and shakers who did not belong to the lodge, achieve a goal long since advocated by M.C. Garber and, with the completion of one simple project, put the five Madison I.O.O.E lodges back on the road to their deserved envious position.
Jim Crozier's faith was unshakable. Madison would regain the momentum it had lost to the railroads with a public drinking fountain.
His first conversation was with Courier Editor Mike (M.C.) Garber. Crozier spent an unscheduled half hour telling Garber about an informal gathering the night before.
He had two more places to stop. One was the William Tell Hotel at Mulberry and Front streets, where he sharpened his thoughts again on proprietor John Mayer, another Odd Fellow.
Crozier's ultimate destination was Walnut and Front streets and as he hurried that way, he picked up the pace even more when he saw the gainplank being readied to be pulled away from the shore. The ferryboat J.C. Abbott was about to leave for Kentucky.
Abbott, a Madisonian of no small clout, was a good thinker and, more than that, a good negotiator. Crozier had an idea he wanted Abbott to sell.
As usual, Justice Bright was the Abbott's captain. Thus, when Crozier announced he had come to go bird hunting in the Kentucky flood plain, Abbott had every reason to agree. There wasn't a lot of hunting done that day.
Jim Crozier intended to pick up last night's conversation and enlist Abbott's recognized talents as an ally. The topic for the day was the Odd Fellows and what could be done to escape the doldrums they were in.
just as vexing as the cause of the IOOF sudden malaise was the search for an antitoxin. That was the matter discussed last night at Jim White's on Broadway, and at Odd Fellows informal gatherings.
"Joe, we need something out of the normal order to catch the attention and interest of the public. It has to be something that will test the mettle of every Odd Fellow and throw off this lethargy our lodge is in," argued Crozier.
"Abbott, there's not one place in Madison where a stranger can get a drink of water. Why don't we Odd Fellows take the lead, conduct a campaign, install a good, clean drinking fountain in Madison with pure water, and make it all happen next spring? Abbott agreed, but asked Crozier how he proposed to bring it about. In the next sentence he answered his own question. Why not bring it up to the next meeting four days hence?
Thus on Nov. 7, 1883 (a Wednesday), Joe Abbott offered a resolution, that the Odd Fellows take the lead "to investigate the desirability of undertaking, as a lodge project, the raising of money for, and the construction of, an adequate public drinking fountain" some place in downtown Madison.
Abbott, Crozier and Aaron Marks were named as a committee to investigate the project.
A little over a week later, on a Friday, a second meeting was held. The Madison Courier of Nov. 17 reported "the matter was discussed in all its bearings. The magnitude of the undertaking, and energy necessary to successfully carry it through, were thoroughly considered."
A subcommittee of a man from each of Madison's five lodges was also named. The Courier story summed up "Every Odd Fellow should put his shoulder to the wheel and assist in getting up something that will be a credit to the Ohio River." Madison's particular Pandora's Box had been opened. The immediate demons to fly out would be:
- Division and disorder in some of the lodges.
- A city-wide dispute as to whether the fountain was even wanted in Madison.
- Involved in the next mayor's election and play a significant part in the outcome.
- Set into mocking question the ability, intelligence and even integrity of some of Madison's leaders, and
- Consume many, many hours of those determined to win the battle
- with the final result that a "drinking fountain" would, indeed be erected.
Two, as a matter of fact. One each at the north and south sides of the Centennial Fountain. Jim Crozier slapped Joe Abbott on his shoulder. "Now it looks like we'll get something done" about the fountain, roared the county auditor.
"Point of order, Mr. Chairman, point of order," came a voice from the center of the old Odd Fellows Hall.
The voice belonged to Mayor
Samuel J. Smith. The election of May, 1882, provided Sam
Smith with a victory by 14 votes.
"Brother Abbott neglected to
place in his resolution the earlier pledge discussed on the floor that no money will be taken from the Odd Fellow's treasuries to erect
this fountain," Smith said. "We have just caucused and
Brother Smith is exactly right," Crozier said. "Your committee wishes to assure all Brothers that not one red cent will be asked from lodge
Smith came back: "Then I withdraw my point of order." Mayor Smith set Nov. 24 for the first Ways and Means meeting. The Courier reported all this, followed by reports on meetings of the Red Men, Knights of Pythias, and Bachman Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. The big Ways and Means meeting of Nov. 23, 1883, proved the fountain men
had been at work. Abbot offered a resolution, seconded by Harper, that a Grand Fair be held just before Christmas to raise money.
Then ladies from all six councilmanic wards were named to assist in the Fair. Mrs. J.H. Woolford, said she had just completed a Christmas operetta called "Mistletoe Bough" and organized a company of ladies to present it. "Mistletoe Bough" was a smash hit. In the Dec. 21 Courier it was called a pantomime opera. So many people wanted to see the opening performance that a second was held.
When the fountain fund committee called its next meeting, chairman Smith announced funds on hand from the fair as being $1,020.18 - a king's ransom in those days.
That was Jan. 11, 1884, the same night the Catholic Knights of America, Knights of Phythias and other groups met.
And here there occurs a "hole" in the story. The fountain dropped from sight until early May, 1884, and one wonders why. And here is the reason.
The great flood of 1884 came roaring down the Ohio River in late January or early February.
Madison below High Street (First Street) was a shambles.
The 1884 flood topped the river banks by about 45 feet. Before it crested, it reached almost to High Street, leaving hundreds homeless.
The cleanup took from late February until late April and would remain a topic of conversation for decades.
The Great flood of 1884 changed a lot of plans.
To begin with, Mayor Sam Smith called a special meeting of the Fountain Fund for Feb. 24, 1884. He announced that, due to the flood he was voluntarily submitting his resignation as chairman.
Joe Abbott was quickly elected chairman to succeed the mayor.
Jim Crozier's friend, Joseph Brashear, met at Jim White's home on Broadway with more than a dozen members of the Old Fellows. The group counseled with Brashear for several hours. Sam Smith, they said, just wasn't up to the task of bringing Madison back.
Would Joe Brashear stand for another two-year term as mayor? Time after time, Brashear demurred.
Brashear entered the lists with Smith and it was no contest. Brashear won by 197 votes out of about 1,500.
Sam Smith stepped up in the eyes of the Old Fellows when he asked again to become an active member of the fountain fund.
The Courier fumed: "It is estimated an additional $2,000 will be needed to carry out the plan. Thousands have not subscribed a cent."
And in 1886, when Crozier wrote his fountain memoir for the official dedication, he said that the committee appointed at the May meeting was named to correspond with manufacturers and select a design for a fountain -not a drinking fountain. Crozier, Abbott and Mayor Brashear were named to that committee.
Now there came a cry for those who hadn't wanted a fountain from the first. With the city's recent tragic experience with the flood and the city water wells which were inundated, shouldn't there be sources of fresh drinking water above flood levels? Put the money into driven wells and hydrants and close the business of the fountain fund, was the cry.
At this time it looked like the fountain would be abandoned, according to Crozier's memoirs. "But those of us who still adhered to the original purpose rallied our forces and, on the evening of the 27th day of June, 1884, by a close vote carried a motion to hold and carry out plans first adopted," Crozier wrote.
The vote was 5-4 for the fountain. Now the fountain men moved quickly.
Aug. 27, 1884, was a big night. The committee submitted designs and plans from several builders ranging in price from $1,200 to $3,000. Among them was the fountain whose replica now stands today.
Contrary to popular legend it was neither designed nor built in France. It was built by Janes and Kirtland and for the Philadelphia Exposition.
Having retired from the manufacturing of fountains, Janes and Kirtland offered it at the extremely low price of $1,200 on board the cars in New York," The Courier said the next day. "This fountain being so much grander and more beautiful, the committee was ordered to purchase it at once."
The fountain check was mailed in early September. It was a cold day in January when the fountain rolled down the railroad cuts.
With the arrival of the fountain came the sudden realization, delivered by Crozier and Brashear to the committee, that not enough thought had been given to its construction.
It was estimated that another $2,000 would be needed to complete the project.
They attacked the money problem by making private calls and the solicitations realized $1,555. The location thorn was a long one.
On Jan. 31, 1885, the committee re-elected Sam Smith as chairman and he appointed a committee headed by Crozier to draw up a base for the fountain. The committee got an agreement from the council to locate it anyplace on Main Street between Broadway and Jefferson streets. Next, the council rescinded that action and said it needed more time to listen to the citizens.
In May, 1885 the council said it was leaning to locating the fountain at the intersection of Jefferson and Main streets. Within a month, the same group voted to locate the structure in Springdale Cemetery. Within another month, the council said it might put the fountain in the Third Street Cemetery.
For a week or so the consensus was to erect the fountain at the head of Main Street. Suddenly, on July 8, 1885, the fountain committee appeared before city council and asked for permission to locate the structure at Main and Broadway. City Council quickly approved the suggestion.
In late May, a contract was awarded Rankin & White for the building of the esplanade and construction of the fountain for $1,499 The piping and painting cost another $500.
Dedication for the fountain was Sept. 28, 1886, and the most ambitious of plans ever seen in Madison were made.
Quoting Crozier: "As to the good that has resulted from this enterprise, we Odd Fellows are entirely satisfied. This effort has put new life into our membership and our lodge room is filled with enthusiastic workers in the cause of friendship, loyalty and truth. And we trust that the building of this fountain will be equally beneficial to all our citizens.
September 3rd, the program for the dedication day was printed.
Now, instead of a paragraph here and there, and inclusion among lodge reports, the fountain had its own headline, usually "The Fountain Committee" with a subhead about the particular story that followed. Sept. 28 dawned gray and rainy.
In some magical way, a morning downpour dwindled the same way it started and at noon there was no rain.
A.D. Van Osdol, grand marshal of the parade, had it broken down into three divisions, with lieutenants in charge of each. It was almost military in its precision. When the parade stepped off, in a route that was to take it through most of Madison, all the Madison bands were ready. There was Genter's Band, White's Drum Corps, Senior's Band, Debest's Band, firemen, city and county officials, all fraternity orders in full regalia, Knights of Pythias, St. Patrick's Society, Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Peters' Society, Knights of Labor, Catholic Knights of America, Grand Army of the Republic, speakers, committees and loads of beautiful young ladies in decorated wagons.
The Courier had a printing press on its wagon and printers - probably Crozier's were printing 'dodgers' and flinging them into the crowed..
Sheriff William Middleton had the courthouse decorated. Every store was a riot of red, white and blue.
The parade moved from Walnut west on Main to Broadway, south on Broadway to Second, west on Second to Depot (Cragmont), north on Depot to Main and then east on Main to Broadway where it disbanded.
At 1 o'clock (sharp, as the Courier said), Rev. J.H. Barnard, of the Second Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Madison Lodge #72 Past Noble Grand James H. Crozier walked proudly and erect to the speaker's rostrum to trace the history of the fountain to that date. He also recognized the Fountain Five, and he made special mention of Mayor Brashear and Smith.
Gen. William McKee Dunn, as stated earlier, was the speakel
Fountain Fund chairman Joe Abbott then presented the structure to the city, to Mayor Brashear.
Every speaker echoed the same thought - The Odd Fellows' Centennial Fountain had been conceived, fought for, worked for for over three years. But because a group of men just would not give up, it had been brought to fruition.
The Rev. W.Y. Monroe delivered the closing prayer, then the fountain veil was dropped (although ML Nicklaus' chimney was knocked over by the wire around it holding the veil). The water was turned on and began to trace lacy patterns in the air for the first official time.
The Fountain was a reality.
The joyous thousands who huzzahed at the sight in 1886 had no way of knowing that, just 64 years later, the cast iron fountain would be in disrepair, dry since 1942, and in danger of being demolished.
They also were ignorant of the fact that in 1950, a lone real estate agent, Harry Lemen, would ignite a community-wide campaign to save it from wreckage.
The most wildly imaginative of the bunch could never have guessed that, in the late 1970's the city would become so interested in the future of the fountain that it would, under the leadership of Philip McCauley, contribute almost $180,000 to completely duplicate the entire structure in bronze.
That was all in the future. In 1949, Madison Courier cub reporter Philip Cole, Jr. lit the fire that resulted in the fountain's restoration. Realtor Harry Lemen also played a key role.
In 1976, Cole, now a professional newsman, discovered the fountain to again be in a deteriorating condition. He took the matter to Mayor Warren Rucker, who formed a committee to save the fountain. A fund raising campaign, sparked by local radio station WORX, raised over $180,000 thanks to Philip McCauley's untiring effort and excellent financial contacts. It is McCauley whose efforts should be recognized as key to the success of the effort.
A self made man McCauley, devoted thousands of hours to this successful effort. Actual restoration was done by Eleftherios Karkadoulias, of Cincinnati, OH, who also restored that Queen City's fountain.
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