An elegant 129-year-old Greek goddess involved in a shattering car crash in October will return to Hamilton this month.
The city’s first public drinking fountain, Hebe, Nymph of Brooks and Streams, was struck Oct. 16 by a 1957 Buick Special convertible was motoring northbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard and failed to stop at a red light at High Street because of mechanical issues.
The Buick collided with a 2015 Ford Fusion and veered into the small park at the northwest corner of the intersection, demolishing the fountain figure and severely damaging the classic car.
But representatives from Robinson Iron of Alexander City, Alabama, learned about it and said they could repair Hebe (pronounced HEE-bee). The work is nearly finished, and she will be driven back to Ohio the night of June 13, installed the morning of June 14 with a rededication ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. that day.
“The company, they’ve been sending me a few photos here and there,” said Taylor Welch, who is with City of Sculpture and Community Design Alliance. “They’ve finished putting her back together, and they painted her, and they did kind of a faux finish because they used so many pieces of the original sculpture. We weren’t sure how much they would be able to save and how much they’d have to recast.”
The City of Sculpture board and Robinson Iron decided it would be best to create a “faux aging” look to “mask a little bit of the imperfections,” Welch said.
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A mural will be painted on the building immediately behind the fountain’s location. That artwork, designed by Paul Loehle, a Badin High School graduate who now teaches art at Hamilton High School, will be called “Incrementum,” and will depict Hebe. The board decided to tweak the color of the fountain so its colors did not clash in any way with the mural depiction.
The Hebe fountain was a gift to the city in 1890 by First National Bank. Originally on High Street, near the bank’s main entrance, it had water containers for horses and dogs. After decades at a private residence, it was restored at Hamilton Foundry and returned to the front of the bank for the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial.
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