Athenaeum Fountain Flows Again

Kudos to the Providence Athenaeum for repairing the lovely fountain out front on Benefit Street. What a generous gesture to the people of the city and a wonderful addition to the streetscape. The sound of burbling water in urban settings is always welcome, but this fountain can refresh more than the soul — the water is for drinking.

According to “Hidden Treasure: Public Sculpture in Providence” by Robert Freeman and Vivienne Lasky, the Richmond Fountain was a gift from Anna Richmond in 1873.

The fountain was one of thirty planned around the city, each to be supplied with fresh water direct from the Sockanosset Reservoir in Cranston.

The Providence Journal wrote up Sunday’s dedication celebration and spoke with Athenaeum executive director Matt Burriesci;

Acknowledging that the library had nothing practical to gain from providing drinking water to passersby, Burriesci said restoring it has been his goal since he became executive director in 2015.

Perhaps the music of splashing water, or the pleasure of cool refreshment on a hot day, can’t be quantified, he said.

The Athenaeum is an independent, member-supported library. It is open to the public but only members can sign out books, etc. Go here to show your support for this project. Or become a member.

Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, (directions)

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