WATCH: Iconic Hamilton sculpture, wrecked by classic car, returns to its downtown home

On Friday, the same morning a 129-year-old Greek goddess made her triumphant return to Hamilton, five artists on Friday began painting a mural a few feet away that also features the sculpture.

A Buick Special convertible that was traveling northbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard on Oct. 16, 2018, failed to stop at a light at High Street because of mechanical issues.

The Buick was hit by a westbound Ford Fusion on High, sending the classic car into the sculpture and water fountain below it that were an 1890 gift from First National Bank. The artwork also served as a public drinking fountain for people, horses and dogs, with separate bowls for each.

At first, it seemed that Hebe, Nymph of Brooks and Streams, was a total loss. But Luke Robinson, sales and marketing director for Robinson Iron of Alexander City, Alabama, found out about it and told people here it could be fixed.

Robinson said, “Look, we would love to restore this, this is our specialty. We restore fountains like this all over the country and even on into Canada, and we ship some oversees.”

The artwork no longer will be a water fountain, because that would cost hundreds of dollars per month to operate, said Jacob Stone-Welch, who represents both the city and non-profit City of Sculpture organization.

A re-dedication ceremony was scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday. City of Sculpture, which owns the fountain and other artworks around the city, said the repairs were entirely covered by insurance.

“I’m going to say it is 99 percent the same fountain that it was,” Robinson said. “Even as bad of shape as it was in, we were able to repair most of it.”

“Even the zinc statue at the top is the same,” he added. “We were able to repair her, so we’re very excited that’s the history.”

“We want to keep it the same that it was when we can,” Robinson said. “Now, we have the capability to create new patterns if we needed to. In this case, very fortunately, we were able to reuse most of it.”

He said the fountain’s age wasn’t daunting for his company, because, “We restore fountains that old a lot. That’s sort-of our niche.”

“My grandfather had a lot of foresight,” Robinson said. “He was able to collect a lot of patterns from the foundries that created these originally. This is a J.L. Mott fountain.”

That foundry, in New York, was a very popular one, he said.

“This fountain is interesting because it was a watering fountain for man, dog and beast, so horses, dogs and men all drank out of the same fountain, but different bowls for each one,” he said.

The artwork is one of City of Sculpture’s oldest possessions, if not the oldest, Stone-Welch said.

A truck pulling a flatbed trailer with the artwork on it maneuvered into a nearby parking lot around 9 a.m. Friday and then waited for a rental vehicle to arrive that could hoist the fountain and sculpture into place.

Shortly after that, the painting crew of Carrie Pate, Sydnie Reatherford, Nicole Trimble, Claire Talbot and John McCoy began painting the bright blue background of the mural that will be on the Max Stacey Flowers building, immediately behind the artwork.

The mural is called “Incrementum,” and will feature an image of the statue. The mural was designed by artist Paul Loehle, who is a Badin High School graduate and now teaches art at Hamilton High School. Loehle also was the designer of the popular Joe Nuxhall mural at Clark’s Sporting Goods, 15 South B St., that was another StreetSpark artwork.

RELATED: 3 Hamilton buildings will be newly decorated with murals in this year’s StreetSpark program

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