Monday, January 30, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (1/30/17): What's the common thread?

While wandering through DC... 

... I came across a most remarkable water fountain.  

While there's no water running in the fountain now, it clearly used to be a fountain.  But what an unusual form!  How fantastically decorative!  

As I walked around the fountain, I finally figured out what it was, and so when I looked at the inscription below, I started laughing out loud.  

Today's Challenge is based on my laughter.  I did a bit of research after seeing this fountain, and the story that goes along with it (and other fountains like it) is definitely worth knowing.  

1.  What kind of fountain is this one shown above?  (Yes, I know it's a water fountain... but there's much more to the story than that.)  This kind of fountain has a specific name... 

2.  Why did looking at the inscription (below), make me laugh out loud? 

3.  Here's another fountain I found in Petaluma, CA (below).  It's not nearly as fancy and decorative, but it's actually very similar to the fountain above.  What's the story that connects these two fountains?  

4.  And finally, what does this soda fountain have to do with the above water fountains?  (Not this one specifically, but this category of thing.)  

As always, the Challenge is partly to figure out the story here (why that story led me to connect two fountains on different sides of the country... and why it made me laugh), but also to tell us HOW you figured it out.  We'd like to learn how you solve your SearchResearch Challenge!  

Upcoming Travel & Talks 

This is a bit of an odd week for me--I'm traveling a fair bit, so I'm not sure I'll have the time to get to the Answer by Wednesday.  I'll post the answer on either Wednesday or Friday.  And then we'll be back on a more regular schedule for the middle two weeks of February.  

If you happen to be at the University of Washington (Seattle) on Wednesday, February 1, I'll be giving a talk at noon: Kane Hall, room 225 with the title of Search is not yet a solved problem for systems OR searchers.

Or if you find yourself in Stillwater, OK, I'll be giving another talk on Friday, February 3 at noon, somewhere on the Oklahoma State Campus (probably the library).  My talk will be The Future of Learning: How will people learn the skills they need for academe, work, and life?

If you make it to one of these talks, be sure to come up and say hi.  It's always great to talk with SearchResearchers!  

As always... 

Search on! 


  1. Good day, Dr. Russell and everyone.

    1. What kind of fountain is this one shown above? (Yes, I know it's a water fountain... but there's much more to the story than that.) This kind of fountain has a specific name...

    [egret fountain dc]

    Fountain and Statue

    to encourage people not to drink beer. Also available in United Kingdom

    Answer: Temperance fountain

    2. Why did looking at the inscription (below), make me laugh out loud?

    A: No idea. I'll Search and think this answer is not to find searching.

    3. Here's another fountain I found in Petaluma, CA (below). It's not nearly as fancy and decorative, but it's actually very similar to the fountain above. What's the story that connects these two fountains?

    [w.c.t.u fountain] The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).Also a temperance fountain. They are connected with [temperance movement]. This women's society wanted fresh water fountains in public venues to prevent alcohol

    By 1830, the average American over 15 years old consumed nearly seven gallons of pure alcohol a year.

    [temperance movement around(4) fountains]

    Henry D. Cogswell, erected sixteen temperance fountains

    4. And finally, what does this soda fountain have to do with the above water fountains?

    [temperance fountain AROUND(3) soda fountain]

    Book: Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City. Temperance Movement

    [Soda fountain] in Wikipedia.

    Benjamin Silliman, a Yale chemistry professor, was among the first to introduce soda water to America. "...Temperance advocates also encouraged restaurants to offer glasses of water to patrons when they sat down, a custom that continues today..."

    [Benjamin Silliman] Very interesting person. Founder of the American Journal of Science

    Answer: Temperance fountains were the precursors of soda fountains.Plain soda was cheap and soda fountains offered more variety and flavors to drinks. By 1891 more soda fountains than bars in NY.

    1. As I don't remember watching one in years tried [temperance fountains Mexico] we call them "bebederos" but I only can remember one at University.

      Cogswell’s fountains were largely unpopular No Mexico mentioned but photos of Dr. Russell's fountain

      2008 article: A Fountain on Every Corner Very interesting. It talks about tap water, bottled water and how much investment was made about these topics. Other "fountains" "...But it needn’t be so. Paris has its ornate cast-iron Wallace fountains (donated in the late 19th century by a wealthy philanthropist hoping to steer the homeless from alcohol toward a healthier beverage); Rome its ever-running street spigots; Portland, Ore., its delightful four-bowl Benson Bubblers...." And, also talks about Cogswell's fountains.

      Finally, mentions Minneapolis and San Francisco plans to create more fountains. And, searched to find about what happened with those plans. Nothing yet.

      [Paris Wallace fountains], [Rome street spigots] and [Portland Benson Bubblers] to learn more

      [temperance fountains] One from 1903 mentions fountain will be added to give water to thirsty man, horse and dog.

      About Q2, finally got the answer. It is really something to LOL. And it was easy to find. Search lesson for me: always check/read all information given.

    2. It might be the beer bottles strategically placed.

    3. I was searching results in Spanish with not luck. And in those searches found:

      News of the California Gold Rush of 1849 lured Cogswell to San Francisco. There his prosperous dental practice and real estate investments permitted him to retire in 1856 with a fortune estimated at $2,000,000

      Doric columns (mentioned in other SRS Challenges, and says: "The classically-styled figure is based on a marble statue made circa 1816 by the renowned Danish sculptor Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen (c.1770–1844)" in Central Park.

  2. there are many reasons to laugh (and cry) in the D.C. – hard to know specific triggeres…
    …it looks like the crane is on top of a bus in this street view of the Temperance Fountain - the Starbucks (modern pseudo temperance bar?) is in the
    old Firemen's Insurance Company Building (red brick building with the shiny domes) –
    crane & Starbucks & temperance - TEMPERANCE, FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY
    Henry D. Cogswell
    roadside america
    Then and Then and Now: The Firemen’s Insurance Building
    Medium article that uses the Petaluma fountain - The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)
    list of locations of WCTU fountains
    Cogswell Monument, Oakland
    good background

    as for the soda fountains:
    temperance & soda
    from THE OSU
    the Atlantic - 'Cocaethylene'
    "…dandelion and burdock was the social tipple of choice."

    …now, where is my Mountain Valley Spring Water bottle – gin laced?

  3. I looked for bird fountain Washington, D.C. and this one came right up and I determined that it was related to the temperance movement. I knew that about the second fountain because it had WCTU engraved on it. We have a similar fountain in my town, right in front of the Westmoreland County Courthouse. It hasn't worked in years, but there is some impetus to restore it to working order because of its history. Don't know your connection to Dr. Cogswell who erected to many of these fountains, but I am sure it has something to do with his connection to the Bay Area. One article describe the ornate grave site that he had erected for himself in Oakland. Soda fountains were also part of the movement to have people drink non-alcoholic beverages.

    1. was motivated to look at the fountain Judith mentioned… appears lost to the changing times… lost history - perhaps being restored?
      quite the courthouse!
      WCTU fountain
      Greensburg, PA
      fountain here too
      alas –gone in Sept., 2016
      there in Dec., 2015
      Sept., 2013

  4. Maybe something to do with the Cogswell Society.

  5. 1. The fountain in the image is Henry Cogswell's temperance foundation. Cogswell was a dentist and against excessive consumption of alcohol. He donated the fountain to Washington DC to provide working-class people an easy access to cool water.

    2. It could be the garbage under the iron bars that seems to me lots of empty beer bottles.

    3. The letters W.C.T.U. stand for Women's Christian Temperance Union. It was founded in 1874. The Union promoted, like Cogswell, moderation in the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

    4. Soda fountains became popular in the early 1920s, probably because of prohibition which came into force in 1919. The people needed a place to hang out. Soda fountains provided a legal heaven for everyone.

  6. … still can't figure ?#2 out, but some other sharp eyed sRss spotted it - they are "XX especial"
    DT fish?
    …meanwhile, in Manhattan
    Tompkins Square Park

  7. thought it was interesting that the fountain used to sit in front of the APEX liquor store in the Central National Bank Building.
    APEX liquor store - D.C. before the fountain moved
    handy list

    thought it was the same bird at first… he liked stars, fish, dolphins, cranes, storks, herons, lighting fixtures, granite, etc.…
    Cogswell fountain Pawtucket crane/stork/heron
    the generic replacement
    "Replacement Heron: Restorers installed a replacement heron in 1991 when the Cogswell fountain was moved back to its original location in Pawtucket. This one is a modern garden ornament found in a Newport shop. | Source: Elizabeth J. Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center"

    the original, with a glass star (illuminated?) - apparently lost in a hurricane
    "Cogswell Fountain Heron: A bronze heron with a glass star in its beak sits atop the fountain at its original location in 1886. This heron disappeared, perhaps lost to a hurricane. Only its stick-like feet remained mounted to the pillar. | Source: Elizabeth J. Johnson Pawtucket History Research Center"

    Dr. Cogswell - done in by carousers, 1894…
    in SF - stars & lighting fixtures…
    "San Francisco Cogswell Fountain: One of Cogswell’s “Guardian of the Fountain” statues pictured in San Francisco circa 1888. As the San Francisco Call described it: “…the doctor stands proudly on the pedestal, with his whiskers flung to the rippling breezes. In his right hand he holds a temperance pledge rolled up like a sausage, and the other used to contain a goblet overflowing with heaven’s own nectar.” Carousers toppled the statue in 1894. | Source: Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection, University of California Berkeley, Bancroft Library"
    line drawing
    Cogswell/Waldo?/Dubuque IA mystery… vandals again

    good background from Fall River

    a compendium of info from CT.…

    interesting list - Alcohol Problems and
    fun facts?
    1904 Santa Rosa earthquake

    L.A. Times piece that includes the D.C. T fountain… & Sonny Bono Park

    would be a source of scholarly research on Henry and the fountains…
    the diaries

    Cogswell papers

    fwiw, also nearby - Man Controlling Trade - man & horse (2 statues) - art deco
    Federal Trade Commission Building in Washington, D.C.
    the Capital Building is just down the street, the Cogswell fountain behind, up the street a bit, on the right…
    one of the Man/Trade limestones

  8. Found Image #1 by searching for Hope water fountains DC. Found a picture of the same fountain and a link to "temperance water fountains" followed that to wikipedia and learnt about the fountain, its founder and why it was built. The second image is comical because of the beercans under the grate, the fact that the fountain was erected to help reduce drinking and now people have throw their empty beer cans into it. Why you laughed could have been because of the beercans, or maybe because of cogswell, and or "cog"s. The #3 Image I googled W.C.T.U and found the Womens Christian Temperance Union, followed it to wikipedia and voila. I also saw in the backround L & M's Drugstore and Co, so I googled that and found a relating image. The inscription is shown on the other image. Total Abstinence is the way to handle the alcohol problem is the inscription. Here is the location on googlemaps,-122.6403891,3a,75y,172.99h,60.1t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFAcOg3z7oRxDHXxwR0m21A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1 .

    The third image I googled soda fountains and temperance fountains and eventually stumbled on this post, which helped solve the mystery, the history of soda pop, Soda is linked to Temperance in that when the prohibition came into effect it became more popular and- “Soda had always played up the temperance link,”
    And Funnily enough you have a soda called root BEER. :P

    1. nice job Lucy - you live in an interesting part of the world - was just looking at some video from Cape Town via Casey Neistat…
      you might enjoy his work, if you haven't already seen it… you understand work & have curiosity.
      CN in CT, ZA

    2. Very Nice video! Yeah I love Capetown and its surroundings, I think it is an awesome place to live and visit.

  9. Anne and Deb here - we started by doing a search for and got several hits in our result. We went to the Wikipedia page for Temperance Fountain (Washington DC). We knew it was the right statue because the page had a picture very similar to this one.
    1)So this statue/fountain is known as a temperance fountain and was used to provide water to quench people's thirst so they wouldn't drink beer.
    2) Anne and I have no idea why this made you laugh other than if you knew about the Cogswell Society. If you don't know about them read about them here Some good laughs to be had. Who knew there was such a thing as glow in the dark condoms? That certainly has Anne laughing out loud right now!And she pointed out I'm laughing just as much.
    3) WCTU stands for the Women's Christian Temperance Union and they encouraged their members to erect these fountains in places they lived.
    4) For this search we used -temperance movement and soda fountains- This newspaper article - confirmed what several other articles noted-
    "The role of the neighborhood bar, put out of business by Prohibition, often was taken over by soda fountains serving carbonated beverages and ice cream treats." Didn't realize how ice cream became such a popular treat during prohibition.
    This was a really fun challenge!

  10. And on a completely different note not sure how many of you watched the SuperBowl. Was going to post something but realized this could be our own search challenge. What is the connection between Super Bowl LI and Anne and Deb? Answer to follow!And no neither of us was in the starting line up!

    1. D & A — close?:
      DQ aka Quinny…
      Falcon Dan (not to be confused with sRs Dan… who doubtfully didn't put a shot in HS??) is going to need some NJ TLC after what occurred yesterday — but it was a great run up to that 2nd half…
      "Thanks to the wonderful staff at Morristown High School, we also have some visuals. With less than a day's notice, the school's library team annotated Quinn's high school yearbooks for to take a look at just ahead of the big game."
      proud HS…
      [twitter can be a useful search tool…]

      shot info… not the Tequila kind - although Coach Quinn might want one of those today…

    2. Rmmij you nailed it!