OWEGO (WBNG) — The Baker Fireman’s Fountain was disassembled and sent to Robinson Iron in Alabama to undergo complete restoration on Wednesday morning.
The Owego Hose Teams, Inc. spearheaded the restoration project, which includes cement and concrete replacement, cast iron refurbishment, repainting, pipe, plumbing, electrical work, basin liner repair, and updated landscaping. Patrick Gavin, president and captain of Owego Hose Teams, said the restoration should be complete within in two to three months.
In its 104 years, the fountain has been restored numerous times, most recently in 2000. The fountain features a firefighter holding a child in his left arm, which reflects the format of the statue on the New York Fireman’s Monument.
Gavin said the fountain is a symbol of Owego’s community.
"Owego has a rich history in the volunteer fire service and really its symbol is the Baker Fireman’s Fountain. And not only the volunteer fire service, but all the community-minded residents that make Owego a great place to live and work," Gavin said.
The fountain is near-and-dear to Gavin for a specific reason.
"I’m actually a descendent of the Baker family. Frank Baker donated the fountain back in 1914 in honor of his son, George Hobart Baker, both were chief’s of the Owego Fire Department, so being a Baker family member – it’s important to me," Gavin said.
Other community members are happy about the restoration as well.
"I feel proud. It represents a spirit of togetherness and working together for a long time," Dick Franz, a resident of Owego, said.
Gavin said the community has raised $75,000 for the fountain so far but the final costs will likely amount to $115,000. To make ends meet, Gavin said money raised from their Memorial Golf Tournament, pending grant submissions and memorial bricks.
People can purchase a memorial brick to honor loved ones. Gavin said the memorial bricks will be part of the walkway leading to the fountain. Gavin said people can purchase a brick online here, can download an order form or contact the Owego Hose Teams directly.