Fountain May Remain Statue This Summer

MAYVILLE – A well-known statue of a boy holding an umbrella for himself and a little girl in Mayville’s Village Green Park might not be operational this summer, according to several sources.

“The fountain (with the umbrella) was moved over to the park,” said Barb Bova, Mayville town clerk. “The question is the level of the water, because there is a leak in the basin that goes down about 5 inches. Right now there’s some research going on about the best way to fix the problem. It will be on display for the summer, it just might not be operating.”

According to Bova, there is some indecision about whether to spend money this summer to give the fountain a temporary fix, or whether to just wait until the fall and completely fix the basin.

“To do it right, the whole (basin) will likely need to be dug up and a new pond will need to be installed,” said Bova. “Of course, this damage wasn’t foreseen, so money for repairs was not budgeted, so it might not happen this year. But it is important that the fountain functions, so it will be repaired, we just can’t say when, at least not yet.”

John Buxton, Mayville DPW superintendent, said that a proposal has been submitted to the Village Board to allocate funds to repair the fountain, however the board might not be able to find that funding this year.

“We’ve got some water in it, and it’s holding about 6 inches of water right now,” said Buxton. “But we’re not using the pumping system, because we don’t want to put money into it that if we’re going to change it later. We don’t want to spend unnecessarily just to keep a little trickle going over the fountain.”

Buxton said that, because the fountain is always removed and put into storage around Labor Day, it’s most likely that the basin will be repaired at that time.

“After it gets taken (into storage), we’ll likely have a plan to replace the basin, along with a new electrical and plumbing system,” said Buxton. We’d probably be able to get it all done in a (month’s time). It would be nice, but I’m not sure what will actually happen. That’s just our proposal to the board.”

The fountain has been on display in Mayville intermittently since the early 1890s, according to an estimate provided by Devon Taylor, village of Mayville and town of Chautauqua historian. Part of the allure of the fountain comes from its mysterious origins.

“A number of historians have searched for when that fountain was purchased and came to Mayville,” said Taylor. “The best guess is the late 1880s or the early 1890s. There is a similar fountain at the McClurg, and they’ve got a probable maker on that one, but it’s not exactly the same, and it might or might not be the same person who made the Mayville fountain.”

According to Taylor, the fountain has appeared on a number of old postcards featuring Mayville, dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. It has been vandalized before, and as a result there have been summers where it has not been on display. However, Taylor said that it has otherwise been a recognized symbol of Mayville in the summertime for more than a century.