Daily Local News, August 26, 1932 • MARSHALL SQUARE FOUNTAIN.
Editor-in-Chief E. L. McKinstry
Children never tire of playing about the fountain in Marshall Square, where for generations they have been wont to make the hours merry with their games and laughter. Any clear day will see a number of them in the near ground, one or two baby coaches often adding a picturesque effect.
Some of the children, having just come from the well-kept homes in that locality, are very, very clean, almost too clean for their own comfort, but after they have romped a while with their young friends they acquire a coating which shows a change. Then they can be really happy.
There is no social line at the fountain, white, colored and all the intervening shades being welcome, for it is realized that the sun shines upon all races, and water flows freely for all to admire.
One of the great adventures of early childhood is that of stepping upon the lower iron rail and holding fast by the tall pickets to peer into the pool where once goldfish swam in glee, but now only leaves are floating. As children grow older, they take greater liberties, sometimes actually daring to clamber over to plunge their bare feet into the cooling water. This, however, is not recommended.
Usually there are just four gushing sprays which spout from the iron base of the largest of a series of five basins arranged one above the other, but when the tall central stream is turned on, tossing its waters high in the air, and filling the twenty-foot pool with spray and splashing and if perchance the sun should be just right for a tiny rainbow, that produces a genuine thrill, a gorgeous effect to be remembered.
Happy memories of other days cling about this fountain. There was a time when Robert O. Jefferis, one time Chief of Police in West Chester, led a seining party which caught escaped goldfish in Eachus dam, south of the borough, and landed them in this pool. Every autumn they were removed, lest they should freeze solid in the ice of the winter, and during two or three seasons they were housed in the Dutt springhouse at Milltown, but that was ever so long ago, when William J. Hopewell was chairman of the Park Committee of Borough Council. Those same fish, or rather their descendants now have a happy permanent home at Everhart Grove, a deeper pool, where ice is never thick enough to harm them.
Since 1889, time and gravity have moved some bricks out of place, but we will realign the shield when we raise the funds to restore the fountain and its surrounding plaza.
A neat brick pavement surrounds the fountain, this having been laid in person by the late Thomas L. Lewis, head of a family of skilled bricklayers, and in honor of the Union Veteran Legion he made a shield of yellow bricks, surrounding them with red, by way of showing loyalty to the boys in blue. Most of the members of the Legion have long since passed to their reward, but the shield remains, as evidence of loyalty.
James M. Pennell, superintendent of Marshall Square, takes much interest in keeping the fountain and all the rest of the property in fine condition, a credit to the borough, that citizens and visitors may think well and speak well of the park and its equipment.
Since the year 1848, the park has been located there, making its age within sixteen years of the century mark. Many gifts have been made in a quiet way, one of the most valuable being a quantity of cedar slabs for the office and tool house, these having been brought from the northern end of the county by the late Major Seneca G. Willauer, who had a farm in that locality at the time he was interested in borough affairs.
As to Josiah Hoopes and Humphry Marshall and the planting and labeling of the trees, that all comes in another story all its own.
Suffice it to say now that the park has long been a great asset to the town, being its oldest public breathing space.