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Sucking It Up On Old Us99

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My kingdom for a drink!

 

Drinking fountains may seem pretty mundane, but how often do you get a splash of cold pure water from one built by the Civilian Conservation Corps along old US99 in 1936? You can when you stop at the former auto park, and now Lewis and Clark State Park, south of Chehalis, Washington.

 

In the 1920's an auto camp operated where the Lewis and Clark State Park stands. You can still enjoy camping at the park, in part because the Civilian Conservation Corp in the mid 1930's had a camp at the park and built several improvements, including the water fountain shown below in this original 1936 photo from the state archives, and my photo from yesterday

 

ARCCCWaterFountain1936.jpg

 

 

 

ARCCCWaterFountain2013.jpg

 

I plan to share more of the structures the 18-25 year old CCC young men built at the park in 1935-36, but the water fountain seemed a unique place to start. Was the fountain and the faucet authentic? Could it be the same Haws – made drinking fountain installed by the CCC boys? The answer turns out maybe, at least in part.

 

First, the rock fountain, base and stand, is obviously the same and original. The stones prove it. But what of the drinking faucet? (Click photos for enlarged view)

 

The Haws drinking faucet head now on the fountain was a design introduced in 1920, but it replaced the original in the photo, which was apparently a Haws also. You ask, how does he do it.....how does he know so much about roads, and water fountain faucets too....the man is unbelievable....or maybe not! A childhood friend had family connections with the Haws Faucet Company and he educated me on the fine art of delivering water to the parched and weary.

 

The Haws Sanitary Faucet Company without the Sanitary in their name is still in business, and many here will recall this type of faucet, and a few, like me will remember the white porcelain sphere that preceded it. The innovation in the fountain in my photo was that the water didn't fall back on the source, and your lips never touched the fixture....sanitary.

 

If you recall the older white sphere, the water came out of the center and fell back on the sphere, thus cleansing the fountain head of most of the saliva, tobacco juice, and mucus with each cooling drink....yuck! But it was common for the unwary to pucker up and “kiss” the sphere as they sucked in the H2O, especially when the water flow was low. So Haws created the design in my photo in 1920, to great acclaim in the fountain business....really! I guess it was easier to be acclaimed back then.

 

So our parched campers for the past nearly 75 years have been sucking it up at this fountain. Somewhere along the way, the unsanitary white spherical water head was replaced with the modern 1920 design, but it appears that the self shutting faucet value may be the original! It is the original design, and it it wasn't necessary to replace it when the head was replaced. (And if that gives you a twitter, just wait until I get to the hardware on the stoves in the cooking shelters.)

 

So I am going to assert that we are looking at a genuine CCC built stone water fountain, with original stone platform and steps, with a vintage (and perhaps original) faucet value, and a vintage fountain head that has served auto campers for more than 70 years on old US99. To see this beauty, book your flight now into Portland or Seattle, and follow old US99 to the Lewis and Clark State Park........and be sure to tell your friends that you saw it here first! I'm expecting this to go viral.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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I do remember fountains that operate as you describe -- water flowing straight up and falling back on fixture -- but the fixtures I remember were metal hemispheres, not porcelain globes. Are you sure that's not an extra tall tee the CCC built for a now defunct golf course?

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Denny,

 

I'm looking for the dimples on the golf ball, but they don't show in the photo!!

 

Those of us out west definitely used porcelain, but I can accept that those in the mid-west had steel balls. Probably something to do with the chill. ;)

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road

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How cool. I never knew about the ball-style fountain head. I do, however, remember my mother warning me never to let my lips touch the fountain. I never could figure out why -- the fountains usually shot the water up so high you wouldn't need to get your lips near the metal. Which, it turns out, was the point of this design.

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I learn so many things on this site about stuff I would have never wondered about.

 

Thanks Dave!

 

(Meant as a compliment on your ability to make the seemingly mundane interesting)

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Rick,

 

I love your statement...and I did take it as a compliment. But I must tell a story.....surprise!

 

As a young man in my teens I worked as a soda jerk in a drug store fountain, and one of the girls at the counter one day told me:....."David, you have such a nice personality....You shouldn't hide it! So saying you learned things about stuff you never wondered about, is practically an award!!

 

Thanks for the come back! Hope all goes well with you!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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