Between 1905 and 1911 the National Humane Alliance presented fountains to as many as 125 cities across the US. Sioux Falls got one in 1907.
This fountain once stood at the corner of 9th and Phillips. This view is facing west at that corner with the Cataract on the right and the Elk's Lodge farther down the block. This was was around 1907 (or at least that's when the fountain was dedicated). I have to think that it couldn't have lasted long at this, the most photographed corner in the state at the time, because we'd have seen it more frequently.
This image courtesy Siouxland Heritage Museums.
The fountain is currently situated at the southeast corner of 8th and Phillips avenue, and has been for years. One bystander recalled that in the 1950s the bottom would be full of change most the time. The city would collect this money periodically to use for charitable projects. The children enjoying downtown would respect that purpose and leave the change alone.
The fountain was donated by The National Humane Alliance for the purpose of giving aid and refreshment to horses, dogs and other non-specified small animals. The lions heads at the top would spray water into the bowl, keeping the water fresh, while the bowl below refresh the horses still frequently seen on the streets of Sioux Falls. The small bowls at the bottom would be for dogs and small animals, though it's not specified what animals.
The lions heads adorn three sides of the fountain, while the fourth side has a commemorative plaque stating its purpose.
The fountains were produced in Maine and shipped to nearly every territory in the union at the time, save Arizona and West Virginia. Alaska and Hawaii were too late to the game to get in on this sweet fountain action. South Dakota has two, the other in Rapid City at Seventh and Main Street.
Our fountain has had some work done in the last 10 years. it was disassembled, cleaned up, re-plumbed and put back in working order. It still works well for a piece art over 100 years old. It doesn't water nearly as many horses as it used to, but to be fair, they don't come around the downtown area nearly as often.
The plaque says:
More is coming out all the time about the fountains and their origins. Look here for more great information on these fountains.
Page Updated: 06/17/2013