Landmark reunites with a friend

Standing in front of the fountain at the Anderson County Museum, Paul McCrider of Anderson holds a photo of himself as a 3-year-old in front of the Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain when it was located downtown. The 24-year-old photo was the only color photo used in the restoration process. [Ken Ruinard Anderson Independent-Mail]
By Nicholas Charalambous
Anderson Independent-Mail


Paul McCrider was posing for his camera-toting father just like any other 3-year-old would, dressed in a rainslicker and wearing a goofy grin.

There was nothing particularly special about the snapshot, except that it was obvious from the way the impish, blond-headed toddler was squeezed into the bottom of the frame that the photographer was just as interested in the Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain looming behind his son.

"It was either downtown or Cater's Lake every morning," Mr. McCrider said about the places he would hang out with his father, a third-shift supervisor at Appleton Mill.

Mr. McCrider, now 27, didn't know it at the time, but that photo — one of more than 10,000 shot by his photography-loving father in and around Anderson — became restorer Ted Monnich's inspiration during the month-long restoration of the historic monument this fall.

Whenever someone wanted to know just what the fountain would look like when it was finished, that was the photo Mr. Monnich pulled out.

As a county maintenance worker, Mr. McCrider was one of the men who hauled the dozens of pieces of the broken and corroded fountain from the White Street dump to the Hanna-Westside Extension Campus where the monument's stunning rebirth took shape. It was then that Mr. McCrider remembered the photo, which he dug up from boxes in storage to give to Mr. Monnich.

"I got overwhelmed with what the guy was doing," he said. "I just wanted to help."

Earlier this week, Mr. McCrider and a group co-workers were responsible for power-washing the concrete and manicuring the lawn of the courtyard at the new Anderson County Museum that is the fountain's new, proud home.

A quarter-century ago he became an accidental friend of the fountain. Now, with the community's help, he can share the same joy with his own family.

"I've told my son and daughter about it," Mr. McCrider said. "They're going to get their picture taken in front of it. It will be like the next generation who can come and see it."