The King Neptune Fountain of Dunkirk, New York
The King Neptune Fountain was produced at the J. W. Fiske Company of NYC, considered an eminent manufacturer of decorative cast iron and cast zinc items in the late nineteeth century. The fountain was purchased in 1883 and stood in front of the administration office building at the Brooks Locomotive Works (which later became the American Locomotive Company –ALCO). When the office building was torn down in 1937, the fountain was turned over to the city of Dunkirk, and it stood in the center of Washington Park, in operation as a fountain, into the 1960’s.
Years of harsh weather, neglect and misuse resulted in its deterioration, and it was moved to stroage for nearly thirty years. In the 1990’s the city turned it over to the Dunkirk Historical Society, which launched the “King Neptune Restoration Project” teamed with the Dunkirk Rotary Club. After raising $20,000, Robert Booth, a SUNY Fredonia professor who was well known for his restoration work of the Mark Fountains in the Barker Commons of Fredonia, New York, agred to do the repairs.
Restoration was completed in the summer of 2001, and the fountain was placed on loan in the natatorium lobby on the SUNY Fredonia campus.
The fountain, made of zinc and painted to resemble bronze, weighs 900 pounds and stands seven feet tall. At least one “twin” to the fountain is on display in Staten Island, New York. That fountain’s original is now located in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and is missing a hand, an arm, and a foot. A working replica based on the original stands on the park grounds.
Images Copyright D. Andrasik and Dunkirk Historical Museum.