May 23, 2023 was a big day in downtown Chambersburg. The repaired Memorial Fountain returned to its home atop the basin, which is situated at the intersection of Routes 11 and 30 in the square of Chambersburg. The process of replacing the fountain was a daylong effort, and now Memorial Fountain is ready to be celebrated.
Fire Up The Fountain, a special ceremony to start the water flowing, will be held at 5 PM on Friday, May 26. Carol Barnes of Hamilton Township, who recently gifted several of the town’s annual Christmas trees, is throwing the switch to begin this next chapter in Memorial Fountain’s nearly 145 years of history. Fire Up The Fountain 2023 is not just any ordinary year of getting the water flowing. A little before 3 AM on December 2, 2021, an intoxicated driver crashed into Memorial Fountain and triggered a more than year-long retirement from Chambersburg’s square. The fountain’s absence was noticed locally, regionally, and beyond.
Local radio station 103.7 is coordinating Fire Up The Fountain and has invited Mike Marotte, county historian and contributor to Public Opinion/USA Today to speak about the historic fountain. Franklin County Visitors Bureau is sponsoring the event.
Memorial Fountain is a visual icon of Franklin County and downtown Chambersburg. Originally engineered as a tribute to the more than 5000 Franklin County men, serving in the Civil War, Memorial Fountain was dedicated on July 17, 1878. It took more than ten years to bring an idea of a memorial to reality. County women’s groups conceived a plan on Memorial Day 1868 and began fundraising by June 1868. Veterans joined the effort and together they organized Ladies and Soldiers Monument Association. As part of America’s centennial celebration, a small fountain was placed in the center of town. The small fountain was so well-received that it helped the monument association realize the memorial should be a fountain. J.W. Fiske of New York designed Franklin County’s Memorial Fountain at a cost of $1700.
Today, one hundred fifty-five Memorial Days after the idea of a tribute, plus some adept work by ART Enterprises to restore the memorial, Chambersburg is ready to Fire Up The Fountain.
Allen Coffman, Borough of Chambersburg Council President said, “It’ll be great to see it back!” A lot of people agree.
Janet Pollard , Executive Director
Franklin County Visitors Bureau
15 South Main Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201