Saturday, August 09, 2014

Brewer Fountain, Boston Common

Couple of photos of the Brewer Fountain in Boston Common, an ornate 19th century concoction that was recently restored to working order. There was a little stand next to it encouraging people to slow down and sit and read one of the free books, and more than a few people had taken them up on the offer. I'm not sure that would work in Portland. Maybe if you stocked it with graphic novels, so long as they're the cool kind, whatever that is.

Wikipedia says there are at least sixteen other copies of this fountain around the world, including ones in Paris, Buenos Aires, and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. I occasionally go on about doing a project around visiting every copy of something or other. The Fremiet Joan of Arc would involve a lot of traveling around France, plus trips to Philadelphia and New Orleans, which would be ok. The itinerary for The Ideal Scout would spend an unreasonable amount of time wandering around rural Pennsylvania, which is less of a welcome prospect. Visiting the Brewer Fountain's siblings would be one of the better trips; a page about another copy in Tacna, Peru lists additional known copies in Australia, Chile, Quebec City, Liverpool, four around France, two in Lisbon, and others in Geneva and Valencia. So that sounds like it would be ok, so far as silly projects go.

This fountain dates back to a time when all fountains were expected to come encrusted with mythological characters; cherubs, naiads, mermen, and whatnot. I was going to propose a glib theory that this was because running water was a rare and precious novelty back then, and fountains got the mythology treatment because they were a very big deal. I'm not sure this checks out though. The fountain went live in 1868, and Boston's first waterworks dates all the way back to 1652, over two centuries earlier, so I'm not sure the chronology lines up on this idea. It's also possible this mythological stuff was simply the fashion for a while, and eventually people tired of it and went on to do something else instead.

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