published Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Chattanooga Fireman's Memorial Fountain statue down for repairs

Robert Woody and Gary Ellis of the Hamilton County Maintenance Department clean the Fireman's Memorial Fountain next to the Hamilton County Courthouse Tuesday in downtown Chattanooga. The statue of a fireman has been removed from the top of the fountain for repairs.
Robert Woody and Gary Ellis of the Hamilton County Maintenance Department clean the Fireman's Memorial Fountain next to the Hamilton County Courthouse Tuesday in downtown Chattanooga. The statue of a fireman has been removed from the top of the fountain for repairs.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Drive by the Fireman's Memorial Fountain on Georgia Avenue, and you might notice something missing.

The fireman statue that usually sits on top of the fountain, located beside the Hamilton County Courthouse, has been removed for routine maintenance.

"It's been taken down for cleaning and repair and should be back up in a couple of days," said Mike Dunne, spokesman for the county.

Bruce Garner, public information officer for the Chattanooga Fire Department, said the history of the Fireman's Memorial Fountain is usually recounted during National Fire Prevention week in October.

It was built in 1888 in memory of firefighters Henry Iler and W.M. Peak, who died in a fire the year before, according to a history from the Office of the Hamilton County Executive.

During the blaze known as the Bee Hive fire because of its proximity to a store of the same name, firefighters were called to the location near Fourth and Market streets after employees of the Standard Gas Machine and Economizer Co. accidentally started the fire.

The Chattanooga Times reported in 1938 that the firefighters died after a gas explosion caused the building they were in to collapse, trapping them under the burning structure.

The Chattanooga Times raised money to erect the fountain, and the city donated land near the courthouse for the memorial.

Fountain Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The current fountain is a replica of the original.

Contact staff writer Rachel Bunn at rbunn@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

about Rachel Bunn...

Rachel Bunn is originally from Ellijay, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in magazines and history. While at UGA, she wrote for the student magazine UGAzine, served as news editor for the student newspaper, The Red & Black, and spent a semester studying British history at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She has previously worked at The Rockdale Citizen in Conyers, Ga., and The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the ...

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