RELOCATED PEACE DALE FOUNTAIN DEDICATED
A public outdoor ceremony was held at Peace Dale Library on Saturday, June 10, 2017, to celebrate the relocation of the village’s historic 3-tier stone Fountain to its new location on the Library’s front lawn.
Library Director Laurel Clark welcomed attendees and thanked all those who had a hand in the moving of the 1890 Fountain, mentioning as well the Narragansett Indian stonemasons who built not only the Fountain but many other stone buildings in Peace Dale. Library Board of Trustees President Betty Cotter outlined the history of the Fountain and compared its symbolic significance as a source of water and sustenance, to the Library as a source of knowledge and community life. Town Council President Abel Collins conveyed the greetings of the Council and shared his own admiration for libraries.
Music was provided by the Broad Rock Middle School Orchestra, who, directed by Andrea Theroux, performed Hornpipe from Water Music by Handel, and Shimmering Water by Joyce Grill. Trustee President Cotter stated that, with the stone for the Fountain having been quarried at the former Broad Rock Farm, it was especially fitting to have musicians from that school perform at the event.
Also among the 60 or so people in attendance were State Representatives Kathy Fogarty, State Senator Mark Gee, Town Council members Bryant Da Cruz and Liz Gledhill, Town Manager Steve Alfred, Library Trustees Catherine Taylor, Susan Cohen, Nicholas Gvosdev, Donna Gilton, Dianne McHugh, and Colin McCullough, and members of the public.
Following the ceremony, the public was invited inside the Library for refreshments and to see a display of Library artifacts in the Old Main Reading Room. Originally built in 1891 as Hazard Memorial Hall to contain both a Library and auditorium, the building was home for many years to theatrical productions, graduations, and concerts. Items on exhibit included a painted banner from 1898 that was used as a theatrical backdrop for a play called “South County Magazine”; the April 1898 Narragansett Times notice promoting that event; 3 steamer trunks belonging to Joseph P. Hazard; Library signs from bygone eras including one reading “No Boys in Balcony”; and more.
The Fountain originally hooked into the village’s water system and was located near what is now the traffic island between the Library and the Peace Dale Office Building. The 3 graduated stones were designed for horses, oxen, and dogs. Eventually, a large elm tree next to the Fountain had to be taken down. The Fountain by itself in that location would have created a traffic hazard, and in January, 1950, it was moved to the west side of the Library. It remained there, dry, for 66 years. In 2016, the planned installation of a guard rail along that part of Kingstown Road necessitated another move, and it was brought to its present location. Lines for a recycled, non-potable water feature were put in at that time and ensured that Peace Dale’s Fountain was once again filled with water for the event.
Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian