Fountain Square Firefighter Memorial -- Chattanooga TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 02.978 W 085° 18.373
16S E 654474 N 3879859
A landmark in Chattanooga since 1887, this unique park and fountain stands just a few blocks off the Dixie Highway
Waymark Code: WMWRFC
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 10/07/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 1

Fountain Square park was laid out as a memorial to firefighters who died in a devastating fire that broke out in the Beehive Store along Market Street in downtown Chattanooga in 1887. The firefighters died when the building exploded.

From the Chattanooga Pulse: (visit link)

"Maybe You Drive By Him Every Day
by Kim Kinsey
November 20, 2014

The statue on Fireman’s Fountain downtown has a storied history

He’s been on duty for 126 years, standing sentry through rain, sleet, snow and dark of night. When he began his watch, the population of Chattanooga was 29,000. Grover Cleveland was president. Who is he? He’s the statue atop Chattanooga’s Fireman’s Fountain.

June 9, 1887 was a typical summer day for the men of the Chattanooga Fire Department’s Lookout Company—until 4 p.m., when they received the alarm that would change their lives forever. The alarm sounded from Box 25—the new Standard Gas Machine & Economizer—adjacent to the Beehive General Store at the corner of 4th and Market Streets.

Chief Whiteside was in command, and firefighters Henry Iler and William “Matt” Peak went to lay a line at the rear of the store. Just as they got there, an explosion rained red-hot bricks on them. Iler was completely buried and likely died instantly; Peak was armpit-deep. He died later that night, leaving a widowed bride of only six weeks.

The Chattanooga Times newspaper donated $100 to kick off the relief fund. In two days, a plan had been formulated to honor the sacrifice of these two brave men. Chattanooga has a reputation for being a generous town, and the giving prompted by this tragedy was an early example of that. The morning of their funeral, the newspaper printed, “It has been suggested that as a monument, a large fountain be erected in a public place surmounted by a life-size figure of a fireman with a nozzle in hand from which a stream of water is pouring.”

A year to the hour after the tragedy, a parade formed at city hall, and those assembled walked to the chosen site—a triangular plot across from the courthouse, which became “Fountain Square.” Adolph Ochs, publisher of the Chattanooga Times, had traveled to New York City and contracted with the J.L. Mott Iron Company for the fountain.

It was one of the largest such companies of the day, but when they heard the purpose of the fountain, they discounted the price—from $1,800 to $1,200. Local orator Col. Tomlinson Fort, speaking at the dedication, said, “As long as this fountain shall stand, members of the Chattanooga Fire Department will be ready to risk their lives to save the lives and property of the city’s people.”

Little did any of them know that, all these years later, not only does the Fountain still stand, it has become a place for the Fire Department and citizens to pay homage and respects to Chattanooga’s Bravest. The Chattanooga Fire Department uses it annually for their remembrance ceremony, kicking off Fire Prevention Month in October. After 9/11, citizens left mementos there—a way to honor sacrifices made so near and yet so far away.

Then Chief, now County Mayor, Jim Coppinger said it best: “The word ‘hero’ is frequently overused in referring to sports stars and other celebrities, but I steadfastly reserve the word ‘hero’ for the type of people we honor here today.”

by Kim Kinsey
November 20, 2014"

The site of the Beehive General Store fire was along the Dixie Highway, which followed Market Street through downtown Chattanooga. The Fountain Square Park, however, is located 2 blocks west of the old route of the Dixie Highway, and would have been another interesting sight for tourists who traveled the Dixie Highway.

The Dixie Highway, whose headquarters are only a few blocks away at the former Patten Hotel, ran through Chattanooga along Market Street, which was later signed as US 27. Market Street in 2017 is also TN state route 8, US 27 having been widened and rerouted as a freeway on the western edge of Chattanooga decades ago.

From the Encyclopedia of Tennessee: (visit link)

"Dixie Highway Association
Home » Entries » Dixie Highway Association
By Leslie N. Sharp , Georgia Institute of Technology

Constructed between 1915 and 1927, the Dixie Highway was part of the new road system built in response to the growing number of motorists in the early decades of the twentieth century. When completed, the highway extended from Ontario, Canada, south 5,706 miles to Miami, Florida. The Dixie Highway Association provided the driving force behind the development of the highway. Motor enthusiasts and/or entrepreneurs formed the Dixie Highway Association and similar groups to promote the construction of roads that would connect cities to each other.

The idea for the Dixie Highway came from Carl G. Fisher, an Indiana entrepreneur and land speculator. By 1914 Fisher and Michigan businessman W. S. Gilbreath had gained enough support for this north-south highway to bring the idea to the annual meeting of the American Road Congress in Atlanta.

Governors Rye of Tennessee and Ralston of Indiana called an organizational meeting of the Dixie Highway Association for April 3, 1915, in Chattanooga. Over five thousand people attended this first meeting, including governors from Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida.

The Chattanooga Automobile Club, newly formed in 1914, was an enthusiastic supporter of the project and remained closely allied with the Dixie Highway Association throughout its history. Five local members of the Chattanooga Automobile Club and eight other men pledged one thousand dollars each for the formation of the Dixie Highway Association.

The purpose of the Dixie Highway Association was to build a permanent highway from a point on the Lincoln Highway near Chicago through Chattanooga to Miami, with an eventual extension north to Ontario. Both the eastern and western divisions of the highway passed through Tennessee. The western route headed south from Springfield through Nashville, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Tullahoma, Winchester, Cowan, and Monteagle to Chattanooga. The eastern division went south from the Cumberland Gap through Knoxville, Rockwood, and Dayton to Chattanooga.

The Dixie Highway Association headquarters were located in the Patten Hotel in Chattanooga, roughly the halfway point of the highway, and the incorporators who were delegated to create a charter for the association all came from Chattanooga. These prominent businessmen emerged as the biggest proponents of the highway in Tennessee. . . .

Allison remained an extremely active president throughout the life of the Dixie Highway Association until it disbanded in 1927. The Dixie Highway magazine was published in Chattanooga and prominently featured the city and region in articles and advertisements. . . ."
Americana: Roadside Attraction

Significant Interest: Memorial

Milestone or Marker: Other

Web Site Address: [Web Link]

Physical Address:
Georgia Ave at W 5th Street
Chattanooga, TN

Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Dixie Highway
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log  
Benchmark Blasterz visited Fountain Square Firefighter Memorial -- Chattanooga TN 08/02/2017 Benchmark Blasterz visited it