|Lighted fountain 1950's|
Two fountains have sat at the center of Public Square
The first fountain was erected in 1855, and donated to the city by newspaper editor Benjamin Cory. The pool the fountain sits in is still referred to today as "Cory's Punchbowl". Cory's fountain was replaced by a more ornate fountain in 1869, to celebrate Watertown's
incorporation as a city. This fountain remains the centerpiece of Public Square
today. The fountain was designed and built of cast iron by Robert Wood & Company. This company specialized in urban monuments and sculptures, and many of their works remain standing throughout the United States.
The fountain has been vandalized twice in its history. In 1959, the fountain was toppled when drunken firefighters from downstate, in Watertown
for a fireman's convention, climbed onto it, causing it to break into several pieces. Several employees from the New York Air Brake
volunteered their time, and recast and repaired the fountain at the Air Brake's foundry. A plaque commemorating these volunteers sits at the outer edge of Cory's Punchbowl.
|The absent fountain, 2004|
In 2002, a drunken patron of a Public Square
pub climbed onto the fountain, causing it to topple and break, much like what happened to it in 1959. The fountain was repaired in 2003, but remained in storage while work was being done on the Streetscape Project
In 2008, preliminary work on the fountain restoration revealed that the limestone blocks that line Cory's Punchbowl have deteriorated to such an extent that they would need to be replaced. The city opted to replace them with concrete replicas, which are much less expensive than new limestone.
After six years, and with the Streetscape Project
nearing completion, crews re-installed the fountain's statue on October 21, 2008. Water again flowed from the statue at a re-dedication ceremony during Watertown's
annual Armed Forces Day celebrations on May 16, 2009.
Below is a short video of the fountain at night, lit with colored lights.
Public Square History
Historic Structures in Watertown