Restoration to start on SU's Old Main fountain    

The fountain in front of Shippensburg University’s Old Main is probably the most photographed location on campus and has served as a favorite landmark for tens of thousands of students and alumni. 

Dedicated in 1896 and a gift from the graduating class that year, the fountain has undergone regular painting and maintenance since its installation, but the iconic structure will undergo a restoration beginning in mid-January.  

Created from molded cast-iron, the fountain features an intricate relief that continues around the basin. Through the years, weather and age have taken a toll on the 115-year-old centerpiece.  

“There are parts falling off and the basin is cracking and leaking,” said Bruce Herring, assistant director for planning and engineering. 

Herring said that the project was approached as a restoration effort because the fountain sits in the historic district of campus.  

Kreilick Conservation LLC of Orland, Pa. will take the lead on the restoration. Herring said the conservation company is partnering with Robinson Iron of Alabama and Outerspaces, a Pennsylvania-based landscaping architectural firm.  

“The fountain was originally designed by the Fiske company which operated in New York at the turn of the century. They actually had a catalog and people designed fountains from the catalog and they built them,” said Herring. 

J.W. Fiske has gone out of business but Robinson Iron purchased all of its molds, so restoration will be as close to the original as possible. The cast iron fountain will be disassembled and taken to Alabama where the work will be completed. Herring said the work that occurs there will make the decorative relief details much more visible when the fountain is reinstalled. Successive layers of paint through the years obscured some of the intricate detail. 

While the fountain itself is in Alabama, work will be completed on the basin. Outerspaces will remove the basin, excavate the area and construct a new basin to which the renovated fountain will be reattached in early April.     

“The foundation of the fountain is limestone. Each of those stones will be numbered and removed while excavation of basin goes on. Then they will be put back in place,” said Herring.