Few things delight the eye or better serve as public focal points than water spouting fountains. You’d expect to find them in cities, like Bridgeport, where traffic swirls around the Wheeler Fountain with its central bronze mermaid holding an electric torch in one hand and a child in the other. But they exist in small towns like Norfolk where, at a corner of the town green, a granite column topped by a globe balancing three fish also sports a lion’s head pouring water into a basin.
Since Roman times, public fountains have been sources of pride symbolizing healing, purity, peace, and civilization itself. At one time designed for the practical purposes of furnishing water for travelers and their animals and later automobiles, today they highlight a community’s artistic exuberance or memorialize people and events. Regardless, moving water still mesmerizes the senses with sparkle, trickling sound, and dewy smells.