You know that fountain on Main Street that seemingly stands by itself without any sort of purpose or much attention? We’ve finally got the scoop on it!
At their organization meeting in 1874, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union crafted a new plan to keep their menfolk from drinking: water fountains. They believed that if there were water fountains in their town squares, men wouldn’t need to go into saloons to get a drink and then be tempted into ordering something a bit stronger than spring water.
Our Bethlehem chapter ran back home with this plan and erected the water fountain that you can still find on Main Street across Brew Works. We’re not sure whether our little fountain stopped those carousing menfolk from wandering into a saloon, but we’re glad that our Prohibition monument survived.
Old as it is, our fountain isn’t the only one still standing! Other WCTU fountains remain around the country, some in their original locations and others moved into parks or museums. The most famous WCTU fountain is on 4th Street of Santa Rosa, California and has stood there since 1904. The caption on their fountain reads, “The only thing on 4th Street that remains intact.”
Along with the fountains, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union still exists today. Members may join at the young age of 6 and as they grow older, they repledge to abstain from alcohol and some chapters still meet to think of ways to discourage others from engaging in what they call “the destructive power of alcohol.”
So, now you know! Impress your friends with this little history lesson the next time you walk by on Main Street.