In a burst of late-summer bliss, children in 1947 streamed into the intersection of Douglas and East Eighth streets in Chattanooga after a water main was accidentally punctured by a worker.
This photo, snapped by Chattanooga Free Press photographer Delmont Wilson, appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 1947, with a caption headlined "Fountain of Youth."
A short report explained the rupture had been caused by a "street driller" who accidentally pierced the main. The newspaper noted that the pop-up gusher only lasted about an hour before it was patched.
The caption read, in part: "Although this broken water main at 8th and Douglas streets may be on the prosaic side — compared to the romantic fountain Ponce De Leon searched for high and wide — it's good enough for these youngsters dashing gleefully through the cool spray."
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If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non‐digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
For historic context, the large building in the upper left is First Presbyterian Church, the city's oldest church first established in 1840 by missionaries to the Cherokee Indians.
Wilson's Store, a grocery pictured in the 1947 photo, was part of a block of buildings that no longer exists. The block is now a parking lot for First Presbyterian.
To the left just out of the frame is the old Walden Hospital Building, which was established in 1915 by Meharry Medical College graduate Dr. Emma Wheeler. The 30-bed hospital was built for the Black community at a time when the city's medical care was racially segregated. It closed in 1952 and now contains residences.
Today, this intersection is frequented by UTC students as the campus has expanded across McCallie Avenue through the years.
This photo is part of a collection of Chattanooga Free Press images at ChattanoogaHistory.com a website curated by history buff Sam Hall. Follow the Remember When, Chattanooga? public group on Facebook.
Contact Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.