Ted Monnich of Columbia guides part of the
Gen. Robert Anderson Memorial Fountian into
place outside the Anderson County Museum on
Tuesday afternoon. The fountain will be dedicated
at a Nov. 1 ceremony. [Will
Chandler Anderson Independent-Mail]
|Darrell Chapman with Center
Rock Welding and Machine Shop welds a figure
to the top of the Gen. Robert Anderson Memorial
Fountain outside the Anderson County Museum
on Tuesday. Local residents donated $45,000
toward restoration of the historic fountain,
which was removed from downtown about 10 years
ago. [Will Chandler
The Gen. Robert Anderson
Memorial Fountain can be seen once again in all its grandeur
nearly 10 years after it was ripped apart and removed
from its home in a downtown plaza.
After a painstaking two-month process to restore the broken
and corroded relic piece-by-piece, workers used a 60-foot
crane on Tuesday to hoist the parts into place and reassemble
the monument in a courtyard outside the entrance to new
Anderson County Museum.
The 18-foot-tall, three-ton wrought iron structure honoring
the Revolutionary War hero reclaimed its famed dominance
over the landscape as it stood more than 100 feet off
busy East Greenville Street gleaming in the sunlight with
a fresh coat of black enamel paint.
"You think you remember it until you see it again, and
it's so much larger than you thought it was," said Carole
Dixon, owner of Avenue of Oaks, who closed her downtown
store to witness its resurrection.
The event capped a remarkable reversal of fortune for
the fountain, which is thought to be the first in the
nation to have had underwater lighting and now is on the
Smithsonian Institution's list of historic outdoor sculptures.
Erected in 1905 or 1906 by the Anderson Civic League as
symbol of civic pride, the fountain was a popular spot
for picnicking office workers and families before the
demise of downtown turned it into a gathering place for
vagrants and the decision was made to dismantle it.
Inspired by the construction of the Anderson County Museum,
readers of the Anderson Independent-Mail donated
$45,000 during last year's "Fix the Fountain" campaign
to rescue the monument from storage at a county dump and
restore it to its former glory.
Deputy museum director Catherine Bergstrom said she hoped
the courtyard location, with a half-acre of lawn, would
encourage families to visit the fountain once more.
"I think the real joy will be seeing people coming to
the courtyard to eat lunch and relax to the sound of water
falling," she said.
Ted Monnich, the former conservator of the state museum
in Columbia who was in charge of cleaning and rebuilding
the fountain, supervised Tuesday's delicate, day-long
He said reassembling the parts was the most challenging
part of the process because of the size and weight and
the brittleness of wrought iron — a point proven
by the fact that three decorative "leaves" around the
perimeter of the fountain's large bowl snapped off when
it was being loaded up. A welder later reattached them.
"We weren't too pleased about it, but it was no one's
fault," he said.
Although the task of erecting the fountain was completed
Tuesday, Mr. Monnich said that workers must reattach panels
to the inside of the fountain's octagonal pool and touch
up some parts with primer and black enamel paint before
the water is turned on.
That will happen at an official dedication ceremony to
be held Nov. 1, at which all the donors who contributed
to the "Fix the Fountain" campaign will be honored.
"I think the ladies that got this started are smiling
now," said local historian Fred Whitten about the women
of the Anderson Civic League who organized the memorial.
PO Box 2507, Anderson, SC 29622
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