The new old Broadway Fountain

At Broadway Fountain

This fountain might look old, but it dates only to 1981. That’s not an entirely fair or accurate representation of this fountain and its story, however. Its story goes back more than a century before that.

At Broadway Fountain

A cast-iron fountain that looked just like this was on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Considerable wrangling and dogged persistence (story here) saw it moved to Madison, Indiana, in 1884.

At Broadway Fountain

But by World War II, the fountain had deteriorated badly and had to be turned off. It sat in that condition until 1950, when a local real-estate agent raised the funds for its restoration.

At Broadway Fountain

By the 1970s the fountain had again deteriorated. In 1976, Madison officials sought another restoration. This time, they went even farther: they had the entire fountain remade in bronze, a hardier metal than iron. It took several years for a sculptor to make molds of every part of the fountain and put the new pieces together on the site. Broadway Fountain reopened in 1981.

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6 responses to “The new old Broadway Fountain”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    If I ever saw this I had paid it no attention. Thanks for telling its story.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a lovely fountain. It would be a great day trip in the Miata to visit Madison.

  2. DougD Avatar

    There was a centennial explosion? Hopefully that only happens every hundred years.

    Nice fountain.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      No, but there was an exposition, and I corrected the text to reflect that!

  3. Kurt Ingham Avatar
    Kurt Ingham

    What a cool story!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Isn’t it though?

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