Recently, Barb Berg offered an antique horse fountain and hitching posts to Historic Bremen. And this past week, the means were rallied and the items retrieved from the Berg farm on Grape Road south of town.
One is a large, cast-iron horse drinking fountain from 1915, made by James B Clow & Sons out of Chicago. It was installed on W Plymouth, midway between Jackson and Montgomery, probably at an empty lot where the entrance to First Federal Bank is now or a little west, in front of the Jeptha Keyser harness shop. It measures 4 feet long and required a tractor to move with the efforts of Kent Koontz, RT Henke, and Derek Jensen.
The horse fountain has since been found in one of the photos in our collection.
The fountain had a float and valve mechanism that ran the water when the level got low, similar to a toilet tank valve. Clow & Sons made numerous types of toilets, sinks, bath tubs, fire hydrants, pumps, and similar plumbing equipment and supplied a fair amount of hydrants and other water works items to the town in the early 1900s. The company is still in business as Clow Valve. Historical illustrated catalogs are available online.
Other items in the acquisition are cast iron horse hitching posts (apparently not made by Clow). One has a horse head and the other is in the shape of a close-trimmed tree branch.
Last among the items is a ceramic lion about 3 feet long. This is unfortunately broken into three large pieces but is being repaired now. The lion is apparently one of the very ones that once flanked the front steps of the JR Dietrich residence at 308 S Center Street, as seen in some photos of the house around 1900. It’s a fantastic find, and we graciously thank Barb for the donation! How these items came to be on the Berg farm is unknown, altho Barb thinks her father purchased the horse fountain from the town around the 1940s.
Use the back and next buttons to see other photos in the gallery below. Click an image to open the Flickr page for that image and see a larger version.
The lion can now be found in the lobby of the Bremen History Center on a custom-built pedestal made and donated by Kent Koontz.