Reservoir Park & Fountain

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

It is a pleasure to heed the request for a reprinting of this old North Side setting. The old Reservoir with its imposing fountain, which once stood in Reservoir Park - now the site of Lanphier High School, was one of the most familiar landmarks of Old Springfield. The Reservoir itself was an important part of the city waterworks system for several decades. Its construction was begun in the Fall of 1867, the embankment being built with the earth excavated from the Park lagoon. It had a capacity of 4,000,000 gallons and afforded a reserve water supply which proved valuable in emergencies. As the pressure from the river pumping station increased, the Reservoir gradually went into the discard and about the year 1938 it was razed by WPA workers. The fountain in the center presented a beautiful sight when it was in operation, with the water spraying from the top - particulary in night displays with colored lights playing on it, as often happened in the early days. The Reservoir's one drawback was its lure to the despondent, accounting for a number of rendezvous with death in the early days.

Among the pictures of old Reservoir Park which have come down to our generation, this view of the main lagoon in the west end of the Park is one of the most attractive that we have seen. To the oldsters who spent so many happy hours at this favorite recreation spot in the Nineties and Nineteen Hundreds, it will bring back fond memories indeed. On the placid surface of the lagoon several beautiful swans could be seen on any pleasant day, and there was quite a flock of ducks as well. The quaint little swan house on the island, in the distance, was connected with the shores by rustic bridges. Running parallel with the left bank was a driveway which led around the north end of the Park and followed the loop to the Reservoir itself. There were one or two other lagoons - out of range of the camera - where boats were for hire and fishermen threw in their lines. Over a long period, innumerable family parties, clubs, sorieties, churches and Sunday Schools used the picnic grounds at right and some of the picnic benches can be seen in this picture. It "really takes you back"!

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.