A local historian is asking the City of Cranbrook to retrieve a heritage fountain from storage and restore it.
Historian Jim Cameron, who writes the Townsman's weekly Janus: Then and Now column, is pleading with the city for the sake of a drinking fountain installed in Rotary Park in 1925.
The fountain was donated by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE), a group of women formed in July 1915 to raise funds for the war effort during the First World War.
"The local ladies of the Imperial Order - and there were many from all walks of life - gathered regularly to undertake fundraising efforts for the soldiers fighting overseas in World War One in order to send regular care packages overseas throughout the war," Cameron wrote to council.
"The group maintained an active profile until the mid-1920s when their services were no longer required. Prior to disbandment they chose to use the remaining funds in their care to erect a drinking fountain in Rotary Park. It was funded from monies donated during the war effort and was erected as a practical memorial from which all might benefit."
A plaque commemorating the IODE was attached to the fountain, and inside a time capsule was placed, which contained memorabilia of the IODE and a copy of the Courier newspaper.
The original stone fountain took only 13 years to crumble and the pipes froze up. The IODE reformed in 1939 when the Second World War began, and they chose to convert the original fountain into a smaller version, which was installed in the centre of Rotary Park. The time capsule was unearthed, but much of its contents had been destroyed by water damage.
"The IODE fountain, aside from being a much used and appreciated centerpiece of the park is a dedicated memorial. It was originally constructed with funds donated in good faith by the members of the community at a time when disposable income was not easily found. The names of many of the donors are also found on the cenotaph, their sons having given their lives for their country. It has seen generations of Cranbrookians and tourists alike stop to enjoy its waters, though often unaware of its significance," said Cameron.
"The fountain, until recent years when it was allowed to fall into disrepair, was used continuously by old and young alike. The four spigots standing proud and sending streams of water continuously upwards (wasteful by today's standards, I suppose) was the source of great entertainment for the kids in the park."
The smaller fountain remained in Rotary Park all the way up till 2008 when the city began renovations on the Park to turn it into Spirit Square. The fountain was taken down and whisked away to the city's public works yard for storage.
"As a Cranbrook citizen, and acting on behalf of those who came before and in whose memory the fountain was originally erected by the IODE and entrusted to the City of Cranbrook, I respectfully request that the City return the fountain to its original location, undertake the necessary steps to return it to its original working condition and, if it pleases the members of Council, to rededicate the fountain in the name of the Imperial Daughters of the Order of the Empire and the ladies who so served so well those who served our country," Cameron wrote to council.
Council accepted Cameron's letter and will consider setting money aside to restore the fountain when they start to discuss their 2013 budget.