By Rick Palsgrove
Water is flowing once again through the historic stone fountain in front of Groveport Elementary School.
The 92-year-old fountain has had periods when it operated nicely with water gently cascading down its stone pillars and other times when it has been dry after it developed leaks. Now, through the fund raising efforts and research of the Groveport Elementary Student Council and their teacher advisors Carole McGonigal and Stephanie Escue, the fountain has been restored to its former glory.
“The masonry work has been completed,” said McGonigal. “It was sanded and sealed. The stones on the outside of the fountain were cleaned and repaired where needed. The pump was replaced and is working well. There is no work remaining on the fountain other than keeping it clean and free of debris. Our student council for the year will work on the upkeep while we are in school. We are debating about exactly what we want to do for the summer months. We will definitely need community involvement for the summer months if the fountain remains open for the summer.”
McGonigal said the restoration work was done by J & P Caulking Inc. DBA J & P Roofing Division at a cost of $8,000.
“It was paid for by Student Council Fundraisers, Paul Atkins, The Historical Society, Go Fund Me, the Groveport Madison School District, city of Groveport, the Groveport Madison Class of 1970, and various community members,” said McGonigal.
She said they are estimating that “a big ceremony” for the fountain will be held in the spring.
“We plan to shut it down just before Thanksgiving break for the winter,” said McGonigal. “We also have landscaping to complete so we are not ready for our big reveal just yet.”
She said student council completed several fundraisers to raise money for the fountain.
“If people still want to donate they can do so by dropping the donation off at the school office,” said McGonigal. “If they are writing a check it needs to be written to Groveport Elementary Student Council. We have the cost of the fountain covered any additional monies collected will be for the maintenance (clean supplies, skimmers, etc,) and upkeep of the area. Our current plan is to plant more grass with some butterfly bushes since we are a butterfly sanctuary area.”
She said the students are “very enthralled with the history of the fountain and were very anxious to get it to restored for everyone to enjoy both at school and the community members.”
According to McGonigal, the community was “extremely excited” to hear that student council took on this project.
“We had such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement and support,” said McGonigal. “We even received mail donations from other states. It was so interesting to hear the stories that were included with the donations. This fountain means a lot to many people and it was really awesome to be a part of restoring this icon for our school.”
The fountain is believed to have been constructed around 1929. It was given to the Groveport Madison school district by the first four graduating classes (1925, 1926, 1927, and 1928) to graduate from Groveport High School (now Groveport Elementary). The three story red brick Groveport School, located at 715 Main St., was built in 1923 and first opened for classes in 1924-25. The school housed all 12 grades for many years.
The oval shaped fountain is 17 feet wide and 13 1/2 feet across at its exterior points. It is less than a yard deep at its deepest point, though, when operating, the water level is kept much lower. It is made of limestone and shale with four stone pillars rising from its center.
The four pillars represent the four graduating classes who donated the fountain and their year of graduation is etched into the base of the pillars along with the words, “A memorial of gratitude from the first four classes to graduate from the Groveport Madison High School.”
The fountain’s stones are a symbol of sturdy strength and the foundation of knowledge. Its waters represent life itself and the journeys we all undertake as we flow through life. The fountain reminds us of simple truths in words that are etched into the fountain’s stone to use as guideposts in life – “Know Thyself” and “Knowledge is Power.”