By Rick Palsgrove
Time doesn’t go backwards, but forward. Nor does it stand still. Yet there are places where, for a moment, one can linger, pausing to allow time to catch its breath as we connect with the past.
The fountain in the front lawn of Groveport Elementary is one such place.
Though made of stone, the fountain is a delicate work of art that holds a special place in the hearts of the people of the community. Unfortunately, the 92-year-old fountain has had periods of when it operated nicely with water gently cascading down its stone pillars and other times when it has been dry after it developed leaks. Currently the fountain is dry and in need of repairs again. Now an effort is underway by Groveport Elementary Student Council to restore the fountain to its former glory.
“In the 2019-20 school year, Student Council voted to repair the fountain,” said Groveport Elementary teacher and Student Council Advisor Stephanie Escue. “That school year Student Council had several fundraisers to raise money for the repairs. Unfortunately COVID-19 stopped our efforts. This year the Student Council decided to continue the quest to get the fountain working once again. We have continued to fund raise and are gathering information about the fountain and repairs.”
Escue said currently the water pump is not in the fountain.
“The pump does work, however the fountain leaks,” said Escue. “From what we have been told, the fountain has not been on and working for approximately six years.”
The fountain has been repaired several times in the past. Most recently, after being dry and cracked for many years, the historic fountain was repaired in August 2007 thanks to funding from the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society. The GHPS contracted with Poseidon Pool Company at a cost of $3,500 to refurbish the fountain.
Escue said Student Council is now in the process of contacting fountain contractors to see how to best repair it and get it working again. She said the potential cost to fix the fountain is not yet known.
“We are waiting for estimates,” said Escue. “The students seemed very excited to get the fountain working once again. The staff would also love to see it working again. I think the school’s front lawn makes the school unique and welcoming. I have heard stories about social community gatherings taking place around the fountain in years past and I would love to see that happen again.”
Though details of the fountain’s origins are sketchy, 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 on Groveport’s east Main Street, 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.”
The fountain is a link in the linear chain connecting us to all who have passed through the halls of Groveport School and through the community. For it is the public school that is the shared experience of the people of a community. Though we are all different, the school is our common bond, the knowledge gained there is the bedrock on which lives are built and the place where friendships form to fulfill the spirit. So this fountain reminds us of both the power of education and the spirit of those who have gone before us and those who will follow us. We are all connected through this artful stone and water portal of time.