NAUGATUCK — A historic landmark on the Green downtown has been restored to its former glory.
The fountain with a lion head in the center of the Green that for years had not sprayed water out of its mouth as it was intended to is now flowing on a regular basis. The fountain, which was deteriorating after 100 years, has also been made structurally stable, said Bob Roland, street department superintendent.
“I think it’s important because this is a big part of Naugatuck’s history,” he said.
The fountain was designed by well-known architect Stanford White, a member of the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White. Locally, the firm is known for designing Salem Elementary School, the former train station on Water Street and the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library.
The fountain, which stands about 10 feet tall, has two basins that collect water. Water that flows out of the lion’s mouth drips over the top basin into a second basin below, making a beautiful sight that many longtime residents remember from their childhood.
Marty-Lee Fenton, a Naugatuck resident, has been heavily involved in trying to restore the fountain for several years. She helped raise thousands of dollars necessary to repair the fountain, Roland said.
“There are lots and lots of memories there for so many of us. When we used to get out of school all activity used to go through the Green. Meadow Street didn’t go through yet so everybody would walk across the Green. The fountain was always the meeting place for us,” Fenton said.
Fenton said the fountain used to be fed by a spring and people would stop for a drink when they walked across the Green.
In the summer months ice was place under to the fountain to keep the water cold, Fenton said.
“It was nice to have a fresh drink of water,” Fenton said.
People should not drink from the fountain now because the water is chlorinated, Roland said, so that it will stay clear and not attract mosquitoes.
Naugatuck residents Tom and Aldona LaPorta did the plumbing work necessary to make the water flow again as volunteer work, Roland said.
A restoration company that was paid to repair the structure even took the monument apart with a crane so LaPorta could access the water lines.
“Now it is once again the centerpiece of the Green,” Roland said.
Fenton said she is planning on holding a ribbon cutting event on the Green at 5 p.m. July 29 to commemorate the fountain being restored.
Fenton said she hopes that the younger generation will take care of it so it can be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Luke Marshall contributed to this article.