Fall 2008
Volume 14
Continued from
Summer 2008 Newsletter

A Community Welcomes “Helen” Home

Client: The Fiends of Thorntown Public Library and The Library Board,
Thorntown, Indiana
Robinson Iron Project Manager: Luke Robinson

In 1909 General Anson Mills, Thorntown, Indiana’s most prestigious citizen, donated a cast iron fountain to the city. Atop the fountain was an allegorical figure standing among reeds, pouring water from a jar and entitled “Helen at the Well”. The citizens of Thorntown welcomed her with great affection and soon the fountain became the centerpiece of life there. However, in 1944 the City recognized America’s desperate need of metals for the War effort by scrapping, melting down and donating the fountain’s materials.

The fountain’s disappearance didn’t dim the fond memories associated with “Helen”. In 2005 an effort headed by the Thorntown Public Library’s Director Karen Niemeyer resulted in enough donated funds to purchase a replica of “Helen” to be placed in front of the newly expanded library. Robinson’s replica of “Helen at the Well” was cast from antique patterns in the Robinson collection. Niemeyer has been quoted as saying, “bringing the fountain back to Thorntown was the impossible dream. As a community, we have dared to dream that dream.”

“Helen at the Well”

The fountain’s main tier takes shape. Note the “lip” castings being fitted to the bowl.

The fountain stands in one of Robinson’s 12 ft. 6 inch cast pools.

Reinforcements and a special tilt rig enable shop personnel to handle and ship the pool.

The fountain arrives in Thorntown!

Robinson Iron’s personnel, Al Neighbors and Gary Davis, position the pool with the assistance of the City’s crews.

The Library addition forms the perfect backdrop to the installed fountain.