[Summit] Please don't get in or on the fountain

Elizabeth Grossman eggbdk at gmail.com
Fri May 19 21:43:10 CDT 2017

I just looked at my email file from 2007 when I got involved with researching the fountain history to 2010… here is a summary of my research from then

 and it might be of interest that the architects of the fountain were:  
--Jackson, Robertson & Adams  Among the landmarks they designed are the Superior Court House and The College Building of RISD, both framing  College Street between Benefit and North Main. The style of the fountain is like that of their Airport terminal building of the 1930”s. They also designed the post office annex and the state capitol annex     

Chronology of the Henry Bowen Anthony Fountain in Lippitt Park based on the Will of H. B. Anthony and  other records in the Providence City Hall Archives. 


1884, Sept 2:  Henry B. Anthony dies.   A copy of his will is transcribed in Wills no. 30, pp 133-136, (a volume held in the City Hall archives.  Anthony leaves an estate of well over 100,000.  He apparently leaves no direct heirs. The three largest bequests are as follows:

            1. outright to his sister, Eliza H. Hoppin, the widow of Francis E. Hoppin : $50,000;

            2. income from a $25,000 trust to be created from his assets to Sarah J. Brayton the daughter of

 his brother, James Anthony.  On her decease, one half of the $25,000 capital to Brown University,

one half to RI Hospital.

3. income from a $30,000 trust to be created from his assets to Elizabeth (Lizzie) D. Potter, daughter of Harriet M. Whitaker.  “After the decease of the said Lizzie D. Potter, the said trustee shall transfer and convey, at public or private sale, at its discretion, such stocks and real estate and the proceeds thereof shall pay over to the City of Providence, a Municipal Corporation, created by said Legislature of Rhode Island to be used by said City in the erection of a Public Fountain within said City of Providence.”  (p. 134) <>[r1] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_1>


1932, Dec 18: Elizabeth D. Potter (daughter of Benjamin D. and Harriet M.) dies at age 92. 

She had been living on the assets from the trust for 48 years. (information on volume of deaths in Providence 1931-1935).



1933, Dec 14: City Council approves Resolution No. 369:  “ That the City Council … hereby accepts a

deed from The Proprietors of Swan Point Cemetery to a tract or parcel of land situated at the junction of Hope street and Blackstone boulevard for park purposes. …. The City of Providence acceps said deed subject to the conditions stated therein, and further  agrees that within a period of five years, it will develop and improve said premises for public park purposes exclusively, and thereafter at all reasonable times to keep the same open for use for said purposes. (Resolutions and Ordinances of the City Council of the City of Providence… January 1933 to January 1934, p. 304)


“The foregoing grant and conveyance and this deed are made… upon the conditions hereafter stated

And in consideration of the agreement by said grantee that it and its successors and assigns, will forever hold, maintain, develop and improve all of the above described premises for public park purposes exclusively.  …  “

The grantee, its successors and assigns….. From and after the time of such development and improvement, shall at all times continue to maintain, develop, and improve said premises so that the same shall be in reasonably good condition and appearance…”

“ That no waiver at any time or times by the grantor, its successors or assigns, of the aforesaid right to enforce the foregoing conditions or any of them by entry and termination of the estate hereinbefore granted in case of the breach of the aforesaid conditions of any of them…”  <>[r2] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_2>
 (ibid. 306 -308)


1935, Dec 7: City Council approves Resolution No. 388.  Resolution: “That the certain triangular parcel

…bounded by Blackstone Boulevard, Hope street  and North avenue and dedicated for park purposes under the provisions of …Resolution 369 be and the same is hereby designated as “The Alexander Farnum Lippitt Memorial Park”, In recognition of Lieutenant Alexander Farnum Lippitt’s distinguished services in the armed forces of our country during the World War. <>[r3] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_3>”

            (Resolutions and Ordinances of the City Council of the City of Providence… January 1935 to January 1936, p.313)


1939,  Feb 6: “Upon motion of Councilman Rider the Ordinance accepting the gift of a fund of money

under the will of Henry B. Anthony, late of Providence… for the purpose of erecting a public fountain, said fund amounting to $35,757.14 is indefinitely postponed.” <>[r4] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_4> (Resolutions and Ordinances of the City Council of the City of Providence… January 1939 to January 1940, p.34)

1939,    March 7: City Council approves Chapter 971: No. 49:  “ It is ordained by the City Council… as

follows:..The gift of the fund of money under the will of Henry B. Anthony… to the City of Providence, now amounting to $35,757.14, for the prupose of erecting a public fountain in the City of Providence is hereby accepted, and the Treasurer of said City upon its receipt shall hold it and any interest received thereon as a separate and special fund for said purpose.” <>[r5] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_5>  (ibid. p.57)


June 5: “ In Board of Alderman. From His Honor the Mayor is received a communication from Albert A. Baker, former City Solicitor, requesting that a public hearing by held so that all these persons advocating different locations for a public fountain, the gift of the late Senator Henry B. Anthony to the City of Providence, may be given an opportunity to be heard before any final action is taken in the matter of selecting a site for the said fountain, and upon motion of Alderman Lokckhart, it is voted that said communication be received and placed on file.” (ibid. p144-146)  <>[r6] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_6>

Sept 22: City Council approves Chapter 986, No. 244. “ .. The Board of Park Commissioners of the City of Providence is hereby authorized and directed for  and on behalf of said city to cause a public fountain,  as provided in the will of Henry B. Anthony… to be constructed and erected on land of said city in the Alexander Farnum Lippitt Memorial Park, and to make such contracts for materials and labor and incur such expense as are necessary or appropriate to accomplish the purpose of this Ordinance, and to apply said Henry B. Anthony Fund in payment thereof, and the City Treaurer is hereby directed to pay the costs thereof from said fond on receipt from time to time of bills thereof approved the Chairman of said Board.” (ibid. p.244-245)  <>[r7] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msocom_7>



Robert O. Jones at the RIHP&HC directed me to the City Hall Archives where John Meyers was wonderfully helpfu
 <> [r1] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_1> Note that the will  does not specify that the fountain be dedicated to Anthony or anyone.  Note also that the will specifies a fountain and not some generalized memorial or donation. 

 <> [r2] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_2>Note that the land is granted on condition that it be developed and improved as a  park and that ongoing maintenance,  development and improvement is required otherwise the grantor may consider the agreement breached.

 <> [r3] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_3> Does this suggest that the Lippitt family made a donation to the development of the park so that it would be so named?

 <> [r4] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_4> There is no explanation for why consideration was indefinitely postponed. This is the first mention I found of Anthony’s bequest to the City in the City Records. It appears about 7 years after the death of Elizabeth Potter. And outside the time elapsed for the original development of the park (which was 5 years from Dec. 1933) but could be construed as part of ongoing improvement.

 <> [r5] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_5>There is no record why there was a change to accept the money

 <> [r6] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_6>It seems for this that they didn’t hold a public hearing. 

 <> [r7] <applewebdata://C9E02101-9AD0-4C78-8C88-1EB5713279E7#_msoanchor_7>Perhaps there is information about why it was decided to place the fountain in Lippitt park in the Park Commission records. 

> On May 19, 2017, at 10:11 PM, Thomas Schmeling <thomas.a.schmeling at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On May 19, 2017, at 8:33 PM, Emlyn Addison <noisyblocks at gmail.com <mailto:noisyblocks at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> I don't think that's what Mark means and I suspect that his fountain story may not be too far from the truth.
> Mark's story does not ring true to me at all. I thought Emlyn  lived here when the effort to get the fountain restarted began in 2008-9. I am pretty sure Mark did. If so, I think they would remember the outpouring of support from the neighborhood and from donors like the Champlain Foundation, for restarting the fountain. There was no opposition that I recall, except for what began when the city started taking down trees.
>> One thing is clear: the attitudes about the fountain seem to fall along generational lines. That should come as no surprise.
> Indeed.  The small children seem to love it the most!
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