Cogswell Fountain

Dedication Ceremony - click here 

Installation of the statue - click here


click on small pictures to enlarge

Cogwell_statue.gif (188220 bytes)

Central Park, Rockville
Vernon, CT 

Rockville Reminder story 11/1/05

Cogswell Fountain History

Cogswell Family Association --


Town Plans To Restore Fountain As Part Of Park Project
April 6, 2004
By LEE FOSTER, Courant Staff Writer

VERNON -- Dr. Henry D. Cogswell would be so proud.

The town is planning to restore the Cogswell fountain as part of the renovation of Central Park in Rockville.

In 1883, Cogswell, a San Francisco real estate tycoon, donated the fountain to the town in honor of his cousin William Cogswell, a local builder.

The Rockville city council was pleased to accept the donation, but once it got a look at the fountain, some townspeople had second thoughts, according to town historian S. Ardis Abbott.

Cogswell was not only a millionaire dentist, he was a temperance crusader and an eccentric philanthropist. He believed the availability of clean drinking water from public fountains would steer the common man away from the evils of "distilled liquors," so he pledged to erect a fountain for every 100 saloons across the country.

Like all of his fountains, the memorial he sent to Rockville was topped with a life-sized statue of himself holding a glass of water in one hand and a copy of the Temperance Pledge in the other. Unlike the seven fountains he had installed in San Francisco, the Rockville fountain is made of zinc, not bronze or granite,

The anti-alcohol message didn't go over well here, where residents had voted against the town "going dry."

"There were something like 33 saloons in Rockville," Abbott said Monday. "They were the social clubs of the working people."

"In the middle of the night one night, someone took down the statue and threw it into the lake," Abbott said.

The constabulary dragged the statue out of Shenipsit Lake and reinstated Dr. Cogswell atop the fountain, but soon he disappeared again. The good dentist's likeness did not reappear until 1908, when he was discovered leaning against a downtown building with a sign around his neck, "I've come back for old home week."

Stored for safekeeping, the statue was sent to a scrap drive during World War II. The fountain has been topped with a stone urn since then.

Town Administrator Laurence Shaffer does not have any good photographs of the fountain in its original state on which to base a restoration. On Monday, Shaffer put out a call for help.

Anyone with information about the fountain and especially photographs is asked to call Ryan Kane at the parks and recreation department at 860-870-3520.


Cogswell-SanJoseCityhall.jpg (29686 bytes)

"It was a dump, an architectural monstrosity" - Harry Farrell

Venerable City Hall with statue of Henry D. Cogswell in foreground.

Built in 1887 for $139,482.00. The City Council stipulated that no brick or sewer pipe made by Chinese labor should be used. It was designed by Theodore Lenzen in a style that is hard to describe. The American Institute of Architects summed it up thusly, "A design importation, reflecting a very bad period of German architecture. It is not typical of any period of design, and it is not a reflection of the art and culture of the community." The term "bastard baroque" has been applied to it. A non-functioning Victorian cupola topped off the gingerbread Gargantua.

Mayor Samuel Boring made the dedicatory speech on the evening of April 17, 1889. The first order of business, after Boring's speech, was a protest against spending money on repairing Market Street.

The ground floor of the building served as the city jail, and sported a drive-through entrance. The cell blocks were on the south side and the drunk tank, described by Harry Farrell as "malodorous from seven decades of boozy sweat, vomit, urine, and Lysol," was on the north. Prisoners would scrape tin cups against the bars, attracting the attention of God fearing San Joseans, and disturbing the monkey business of Council meetings on the floor above.

San Francisco dentist/prohibitionist Henry D. Cogswell provided statues of himself to cities - based on the number of saloons. California's cities qualified for many statues, one of which was placed in The Plaza. The statue was constructed of cast-iron, and mounted on a base that provided drinking facilities for both man and horse. In 1944, the statue was ignominiously melted down during a scrap metal drive. When The Mountain Charley Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus tried to replace the statue, it was discovered that all copies had been destroyed.


cogswellfountainPacific Grove.jpg (30157 bytes)
Pacific Grove, CA

Cogswell Fountain was a water fountain erected by a temperance advocate. It was in Jewell Park until WWII, when it was melted down for the war effort.


cogswellfountain Washington,DC.jpg (17157 bytes)

Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
Subject:  Cogswell Temperance Fountain
 Year: 1880
 Sculptor: Henry D. Cogswell
 Location: Indiana Plaza
( Pennsylvania Ave. & 7th )

Henry D. Cogswell was an eccentric dentist from San Francisco who made a fortune from real estate and mining stocks. He wanted to be remembered forever. He also believed Americans were drinking too much alcohol. So, he paid for the building of a number of water fountains like this all over the United States.

Cogswell himself designed each fountain and each is unique. Atop the DC fountain is a water crane; in the center are two entwined dolphins.

The Cogswell Fountain in DC no longer has water, although there is a city water fountain located a few feet away. Given the notoriously poor quality of DC's water, one wonders whether Cogswell's scheme to get Washingtonians to drink water for their health is such a great idea.

NOTE: For many years, DC had a Cogswell Society. The master of ceremonies at their dinner was known as the "lead Crane". He would offer a toast to Temperance; the proper response (with drink in hand) was "I'll drink to that!"


cogswell01.jpg (24205 bytes)

cogswell02c.jpg (28618 bytes)

cogswell03rc.jpg (18313 bytes)


All's Well That Ends With a Drink to Cogswell
How Better to Honor a Temperance Activist Than Guzzling in His Honor?
(By Greg Kitsock. Reproduced from the Washington City Paper, March 6 1992) 

On the first Friday of each month, Washington's exclusive Cogswell 
Society gathers to revere the memory of their namesake, Dr. Henry Cogswell,
 a 19th- century San Francisco dentist and ardent temperance activist.

They drink, they swear, and they attribute fictitious accomplishments 
to the inventor of a new method of installing false teeth. At the February 
assembly, one Cogswellian claimed that Dr. Henry had also devised a 
glow-in-the-dark condom "for when you want to rise and shine."

Ostensibly, the Cogswell Society was formed to protect the good 
doctor's enduring monument: a grotesque Victorian drinking fountain that 
still stands outside the Archives Metro station. But in practice, the 
society is an excuse for an afternoon of convivial rippling, a secret 
fraternity with its own arcane and pointless rituals, where Washington 
lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals can let down their hair. 
Infiltrating their ranks is no easy task. At any given time, there are 
exactly 12 active members, selected by unanimous vote of their peers. A 
13th seat is kept open in the never-ending hunt for the perfect Cogswellian. 

"We were going to nominate W.C. Fields, but we found out he died in 
1946," says Dave Buswell, president of Orbis International and one of the 
founding fathers of the group. 

The role call of Cogswell irregulars (non-resident members and 
associate members no longer active) includes cartoonist Jim Berry, 
political satirist Mark Russell, and TV pundit John McLaughlin. 
The Cogswell Society was born 19 years ago when a group of Capitol 
Hill toastmasters, over liquid lunch at Duke Ziebert's, resolved to found 
a modern Washingtonian equivalent of the old Algonquin Club. They wracked 
their brains for a suitable name, until one afternoon when Buswell (who 
then worked for the Federal Trade Commission) gazed out his window at 7th 
& Penn and spied Cogswell's Temperance Fountain in the square below. 

Cogswell was not really a bad sort: a self-educated, self-made 
millionaire who turned to philanthropy in his old age. His chief fault 
seems to be hubris in believing that his statuary would inspire men to 
drink more water. Washington was one of about 15 cities to receive 
fountains from the tea totaling tooth-puller. In the Cogswellian canon, the 
fountain is "a tasteful Victorian blend of bronze, lead and granite, 
ornamented with pleasing rococo filigree and curlicues." Its four stone 
columns support a canopy on whose sides the virtues of Faith, Hope, 
Charity, and Temperance are chiseled. The centerpiece is a pair of 
entwined dolphins-- "obviously copulating," remarks one member. Buswell 
and the other original members found the sculpture so uniquely ugly that 
they assigned themselves the mission of guarding it from vandals, graffiti 
artists, and unappreciative bureaucrats. They'll tell you proudly that if 
not for their lobbying, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation 
would long ago have disassembled the fountain and carted it off to a warehouse. 

My brush with the Cogswellians occurred after I published an article 
in City Paper on the history of the fountain two months ago ("Fountain of 
Hooch," 113). A few weeks later, Cogswellian Howard Tucker, managing 
director for Capital Insights Inc., phoned me to mention a glaring omission:
 "You didn't mention us!"  "Well, I couldn't get anyone to admit they were a member," I countered. 

Tucker invited me to the group's next meeting. The Cogswellians are 
highly migratory. Since 1983 they've gathered in 82 different places: 
restaurants, bars, members' homes, private clubs, colonial mansions, the 
presidential yacht Sequoia, and even St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill. 

Today's meeting takes place in the upstairs banquet room of the 
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge on 5th Street NW The place has been 
decorated with the group's icons: a likeness of the bewhiskered Cogswell 
in the prime of his manhood; a circa 1970 photo of the Temperance Fountain 
with the Apex Liquor Store looming in the background; a cartoon of a 
veritable redwood labeled the "Temperance Tree" bearing such figurative 
fruits as tranquility, a productive life, and a peaceful death. 
The master of ceremonies is addressed as the Lead (as in the metal) 
Heron, in honor of the gangly bird perched atop Cogswell's fountain. He picks the
 site and makes the arrangements. This month, London Daily Express
bureau chief Ross Mark has that honor. "Gentlemen, a toast to temperance!" he shouts. 
"I'll drink to that!" reply the assembled members, hoisting wine 
glasses and balancing on one leg in imitation of the heron. It's a ritual 
without basis in fact: 

A close inspection of Cogswell's cast-metal crane 
reveals both his feet firmly attached to the cupola. "It's just a shtick 
we're used to; besides, water birds are supposed to stand on one leg," 
explains Buswell afterward. 

Bill Day, director of public affairs for Ford Motor Company and 
another charter member of the group, takes the podium to explain the black 
and blue riband with the miniature bronze coat hanger that each member 
"The blue stands for the society's pusillanimousness in the face of a 
threatening city bureaucracy, and the black stands for the openness with 
which the society conducts its activities. The coat hanger is a constant 
reminder of neglect." In fact, it symbolizes the hanger that an unknown 
vandal wrapped around the heron's beak about 1960 and was still there 
moldering when Ruswell popped his head our the office window and had his epiphany. 

Deane Maury, a Washington realtor, continues with a few meditations on 
Cogswell the man, considerably embellishing the doctor's official 
biography. "it's believed he gave up dentistry because he couldn't stand 
his patients' bad breath, so he became a proctologist." 
A couple years ago, the society discovered Cogswell's great-nephew 
working in the Treasury Department and invited him to a meeting, recalls Tucker.

"He was so insulted that he left during the soup." 
"I think you can see that we really do have affection for the old 
guy," noted Ruswell. "But you just can't come to our meetings and have a thin skin." 

To Jay Coupe, a retired Navy captain, falls the task of recounting the 
history of D.C.'s Temperance Fountain. When he brings up the name of Sen. 
Sheridan Downey, the room erupts on cue in a chorus of boos and catcalls. 
Downey, a California senator in the 1940s, had suggested that the fountain 
"be torn down by chains and dragged away." 

"We have long known that Downey is to aestheticism what David Duke is 
to the NAACP, what the Emir of Kuwait is to gratitude, what Mike Tyson is 
to foreplay,'' huffs Coupe. 

As unofficial sommelier, it is Buswell's task to carry on the 
tradition of insulting the house wine. This particular vintage, he 
relates, hailed from Botswana where it was pre-aged by being fermented 
from raisins. He traces its manufacture from the initial fermentation, 
sparked by the local population having an orgy in the vat, to its purchase 
at a bargain-basement liquor store whose motto is "We will sell no wine 
before you pay for it." 

Over steak and potatoes, the Period of Continuing Enlightenment 
begins. In counterclockwise fashion, each of the Cogswellians and their 
guests rises, introduces himself, and delivers scathing commentary (the 
more sexually explicit or scatological, the better) on some topical issue 
or personality. February's meeting took place shortly after Marion Harry's 
latest sexual indiscretion and shortly before the Jeffrey Dahmer trial 
started, prompting some real groaners. ("Did you hear about Marion Barry's 
new program for the city! It's called Head Start." "Do you know that Jeff 
Dahmer got arrested for passing his friend in an alley!") 

Another speaker offered a pop quiz to detect latent David Duke 
supporters. !"Do you have curtains in your pickup truck but not in pour 
living room? If your porch collapsed, would more than three dogs die?") 
Every meeting has a Pigeon, an after dinner speaker who gives a brief 
talk on some issue of national interest, often the one serious interlude 
in the otherwise bawdy affair. This afternoon's Pigeon is Rob Williams, 
congressional liaison and PR officer for United Airlines, and he details 
the airline industry's financial woes in the post-Gulf War era. 
Two hours after it began, the meeting breaks up. As the euphoria 
wrought by the wine and camaraderie wears off, one of the members realizes 
that there's a reporter at the other end of the table scribbling away and 
buttonholes me with a request for discretion. "There are some people here 
in very lofty positions," he cautions. Normally, these gatherings are 
strictly off the record, although they did invite a Washington Times 
reporter back in 1983 on the condition "that he neither eat nor drink." 

Our waitress is the sole female presence at the meeting. 
"There is no prohibition on women per se," explains Buswell. He notes 
that the Cogswell Society holds an annual black-tie gala every January at 
which both sexes are welcome. "But most of our members and most women 
would feel uncomfortable with the sort of ribaldry that goes on here. Some 
of these affairs can get pretty raunchy. This one was tame by comparison." 

Just once did the Cogswellians bend this unwritten rule. A couple 
years back, the Pigeon was a woman who was introduced as the second 
secretary of the Soviet Embassy. Accompanied by KGB guards, she delivered 
a rambling tirade on all things American. "The members were furious!" 
recalls Buswell, until they found out that the whole thing was a 
hoax--their speaker was a New York actress who spoke fluent Russian. 
Despite the general atmosphere of hilarity, Ross Mark chalks this 
afternoon's affair up as "mediocre". 

"Sometimes these things catch fire, and sometimes they don't," he 
says, recalling one banquet where the guest of honor was a high-ranking 
White House official (whom he won't name). The speaker got wrapped up in 
his talk and became angry when the Cogswellians interrupted him with their 
comments and questions (which is perfectly acceptable as far as 
Cogswellian etiquette is concerned). "The members pelted him with napkins 
and rolls, and he walked out." "The worst thing you can do at these 
meetings is to take yourself too seriously." 

Fountain of Hooch
Like the Noble Experiment Itself, 
D.C.'s Monument to Prohibition Didn't Work 
(By Greg Kitsock, Washington City Paper, January 3, 1992

T'is the season to contemplate unwanted gifts: the recycled fruitcake, 
the plaid pants three sizes too big, and the Cogswell Monument at 7th 
Street and Indiana Avenue NW. The Victorian fountain, with its 
Greek-temple motif, still attests to the supremacy of water as a beverage. 
Standing across from the Archives Metro stop, the monument to temperance 
looks as if it were designed by a sufferer of delirium tremens. A spindly 
legged bronze crane does a balancing act on top of the cupola, as if to 
pass some avian sobriety test. On the sides are engraved the three 
cardinal virtues--faith, hope, and charity--to which a fourth has been 
added: temperance. Gamboling beneath the canopy are two strange scaly fish 
(with teeth!) which are described as dolphins in one guidebook but which 
bear scant resemblance to Flipper.

The fountain's donor was Dr. Henry Cogswell, a San Francisco dentist 
who made a mint by investing in real estate the money he made pulling 
'49ers' teeth during the Great Gold Rush. In the Temperance Fountain's 
heyday, ice water flowed from the dolphins' snouts. Thirsty passersby were 
encouraged to ladle up an alcohol-free mouthful with a brass cup attached 
to the fountain by a chain. A horse trough caught the overflow for thirsty 
nags. However, the city tired of replenishing the ice in a reservoir 
beneath the platform, and the pipes had long been disconnected when the 
Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation refurbished the monument in 1990. 

Although it's sometimes referred to as the Prohibition Memorial, 
Cogswell's fountain was actually chiseled out of granite and bronze at a 
Connecticut foundry in the early 1880s and formally accepted by a 
congressional resolution in 1882, when Prohibition was but a gleam in the 
eye of Frances Willard and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. The 
good doctor donated about 15 similar monuments to other cities, including 
Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, and San Francisco. He seems to have had a 
fetish about animals: Other fountains were adorned with frogs, pigeons, 
sea serpents, horses, and gargoyles. A few even sported a bronze statue of 
Cogswell himself, in whiskers and frock coat, with a water glass or 
temperance pledge in his outstretched hand.

Cogswell died in 1900, which is just as well, as he would have been 
sorely disillusioned by the reality of state-enforced Prohibition. 
Temperance crusaders of the 19th century conjured up images of an 
alcohol-less land where granaries bulged with the produce of sober 
workingmen, families lolled about the hearth, and jails and asylums lay 
vacant. But Washington of the '20s bore scant resemblance to this fantasy. 

Washington was eased rather gently into the so-called Noble 
Experiment. By congressional fiat, the Sheppard Act dried up the District 
at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1, 1917 (two years ahead of the rest of the 
country). Some 269 bars and retail outlets--as well as four 
breweries--lost their licenses. Halloween proved to be an unusually quiet 
night for the police, as the bars along D.C.'s Rum Row on F-Street NW were 
drunk dry by 10 p.m. 

Until Prohibition went into effect nationwide, Washingtonians could 
take the train to Baltimore to wet their whistles. Meanwhile, others 
practiced how to make booze from malt extract and dehydrated grapes mixed 
with baker's yeast, and by 1920 they were proficient. Smugglers' wares and 
corn squeezings from the Virginia hills supplemented the supply of home 
brew. No one in the city ever had to stoop to water. 

Tipplers guzzled bathtub gin and "cawn" liquor distilled in primitive 
alky cookers and often contaminated with methyl alcohol, formaldehyde, 
iodine, or fuel oils. According to the anonymous authors of 
Washington-Merry-Go-Round and its sequel More Merry-Go-Round, the 
Smithsonian had to post guards after some desperate soul was found 
draining the preservative from the specimen jars in its reptile exhibit. A 
busted still confiscated from a fashionable Adams Morgan home yielded 
several inches of petroleum sludge on the bottom.

Good stuff was still available for greenbacks. In a Bartender's Guide 
to Prohibition published by Collier's magazine, the author cited the 
following black-market prices: grain alcohol, $12 a gallon; Canadian Club, 
$80 a case; Johnny Walker, $90 a case; Hennessey cognac, $80 to $100 a 
case. Of course, the container was no guarantee of the quality. One shop 
on H Street made a handsome profit selling bottles and fake labels to 
bootleggers who filled them with cawn liquor colored with caramel.

By the end of the '20s, an estimated 3,500 speak-easies and free-lance 
bootleggers were flourishing in the District. Where could you get it? 
Where couldn't you-that would be a shorter list. The upper crust would 
hoist glasses at the Club Mayflower in the fifth floor of the Mayflower 
Hotel, with its 30-foot bar, gaming cables, and extensive cocktail menu. 
The well-connected could score a stiff snort on Embassy Row, where envoys 
took advantage of their privileges, importing booze in diplomatic pouches 
and banging it back on embassy grounds. Lowbrows would gather in the back 
room of a drug store, billiard parlor, gas station, or luncheonette where 
a few pine planks suspended over stacks of crates would serve as a 
makeshift bar.

Instead of emptying the jails, Prohibition made them bulge. In 1929, 
the year of peak enforcement, the cops made nearly 20,000 collars for 
violations of local and national Prohibition ordinances. Still, it was a 
losing battle: With only 35 of D.C.'s 1,400-man police empowered to 
enforce these statutes, rumrunners could operate with impunity from the 
slums of Southwest to the grounds of the Capitol.

Quite simply, obeying the law didn't pay. Many larger brewers retooled 
their plants to make near beer, only to discover they couldn't give it 
away because bootleg booze was so easy to get. In D.C., the old brewer 
Christian Heurich experimented with a nonalcoholic apple cider in his 
plant where the Kennedy Center stands today. But it fermented in the 
bottles and had to be dumped. Heurich would have nothing to do with 
bootlegging and spent the dry years manufacturing ice and tending to his 
Bellevue, Md., farm. As a result, a decent stein of lager became the one 
drink hardest to find here. As William Randolph Hearst editorialized,, the 
only thing changed by Prohibition was that "a man who wants a mild drink 
is compelled to take a strong one; and a man who wants a good drink is 
compelled to take a bad one." 

Dry leaders pressured President Hoover and the Congress to do 
something about the rumrunners. If Prohibition couldn't be enforced in the 
seat of our nation's government, how could it be enforced in Boston or 
Boca Raton or Peoria! But political support for temperance was still 
strong. As late as 1930, Rep. Morris Sheppard of Texas (author of the act 
that made D.C. dry) insisted that there was as much chance of the 18th 
Amendment being repealed as for "a hummingbird to fly to Mars with the 
Washington Monument tied to its tail." 

But they couldn't enforce a law that wasn't being obeyed al the top. 
The roster of Prohibition violators read like a Who's Who of '20s American 
politics. Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth and his wife Alice 
Roosevelt Longworth made homemade beer and wine in the basement of their 
mansion. "Cactus Jack" Garner, Texas senator and later VP under FDR, liked 
to pull a flask from his desk for favored constituents and say ''Let's 
strike a blow for liberty, boys! 

Woodrow Wilson, forced into retirement by a stroke he suffered in the 
White House, maintained a small wine cellar in his home on S Street NW. 
Warren Harding, though he had voted for the 18th Amendment under pressure 
from the Anti-Saloon League, served highballs to his Poker Cabinet. 
Herbert Hoover found a perfectly legal dodge: While secretary of commerce 
under Harding, he would often drop by the Belgian Embassy at cocktail 
time, where the principle of diplomatic Immunity applied. 
Throughout the years of prohibition, until its repeal in 1933, 
Cogswell's fountain of temperance silently witnessed the innumerable deals 
between bootleggers and their customers. 

Washington tolerated Cogswell's gift, but other cities didn't. In his 
hometown of San Francisco, a lynch party of self-professed art lovers 
wrapped a rope around the neck of Cogswell's statue and toppled it to the 
ground. Vandals in Rockville, Conn. tossed another one of his fountains 
into a lake.

The D.C. fountain came close to the scrap heap when, in 1945, Sen. 
Sheridan Downey of California campaigned against it. "On my first day in 
Washington, I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and was amazed to discover 
at 7th Street what was obviously a monstrosity of art," he said. 
"Examining it more closely, I was shocked to see the fair name of San 
Francisco emblazoned on it." A photo in the April 11, 1945, Washington 
Daily News depicts the peevish senator aside the fountain, where a tramp 
is sprawled out between the columns.

Downey subsequently introduced a resolution to replace the fountain 
with a group of figures depicting "the horror, brutality, and filth of 
war." His suggestion sparked an our pouring of apathy. D.C. officials said 
they didn't care what happened to the monument, and one letter writer to 
the Daily News beefed that a member of Congress ought to have more 
important things to worry about. Downey's resolution died in committee. 
The Temperance Fountain remains an excellent Washington conversation 
piece, too quaint to dispose of and too essential to skaterats who commute 
from the suburbs to careen off its sides. Like now-anachronistic statues 
of Lenin, it stands as a strangely perverse memorial to a failed social experiment. 


Cogswell Fountain, 1880, Main Street at East Avenue, Pawtucket, RI


Tompkins Square Park, NYC


Dr. Henry Daniel Cogswell, born in Tolland, Connecticut March 3, 1820, was a man of both vision and distinguished heritage. The Cogswell family was descended from Alfred the Great and Charlemagne and emigrated to America in 1635 from England. Dr. Cogswell cherished his family crest and motto, "Nec Sperno Nec Timeo," which means, "I neither despise nor fear." As his ancestors numbered among America's pioneers, so was Dr. Cogswell's own life one of pioneering and service. 

Henry D. Cogswell had a humble childhood. It was necessary for young Cogswell to go to work at an early age in the New England cotton mills. After a day's work in the mills, he spent the evening hours reading, writing, and learning arithmetic. Eventually he became a teacher, but after one year, he decided to enter the dental profession. Upon completion of his training at the age of 26, Dr. Cogswell began the practice of dentistry in Providence, Rhode Island. One year later, in 1846, he married Caroline E. Richards, daughter of Ruel Richards, a manufacturer in Providence. 

When gold was discovered in California, Dr. Cogswell followed the pioneering urge he inherited from his ancestors. He left for California by sea and after 152 days aboard the clipper ship "Susan G. Owens", landed in San Francisco on October 12, 1849. Rather than enter the rugged and uncertain business of mining, he practiced dentistry and established a mercantile business in the mining region. After several successful years of dental practice and real estate investments and buoyed by his ever-present strength of purpose, Dr. Cogswell became one of San Francisco's first millionaires. 

Dr. Cogswell was a pioneer in his profession as well. In 1847 he designed the vacuum method of securing dental plates. In 1853 he performed the first dental operation in California using chloroform.

On March 19, 1887, Dr. and Mrs. Cogswell executed a trust deed setting apart real property (valued at approximately one million dollars) to establish and endow Cogswell Polytechnical College. It was, as far as is known, the first school of its kind west of the Mississippi River. 

The purpose of the College as a nonprofit charitable trust is well expressed in the words of Dr. Cogswell in his presentation address to the first Board of Trustees, which he and Mrs. Cogswell had selected. It is remarkable that his reference to the immediate need for technical training is true now as it was at that time. He spoke, in part, as follows:"Educated working men and women are necessary to solve the great labor problems that will arise in the future. For the purpose of this education, there is room and need for technical schools in all quarters of our country. For the purpose, then, of providing boys and girls of the state a thorough training in mechanical arts and other industries, we have made the grant, as set forth in these papers, providing for the founding and maintaining of Cogswell College." 

The school was opened in August 1888 as a high school with well-equipped departments of technical education for boys and business education for girls. The school operated in this capacity until June 30, 1930, when its status was changed to that of a technical college offering a college-level two-year program. Cogswell College now offers a Bachelor of Science in Fire Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Fire Prevention Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, and a Bachelor of Arts in Computer and Video Imaging, Digital Audio Technology and Digital Motion Picture. 

Cogswell College was singled out and originally written into the California State Constitution, along with the Huntington Library, Lick School (Lick-Wilmerding), the Mechanics Institute (Library), and Stanford University, as a tax-exempt institution. Cogswell College's contribution to the community justified this honor. That contribution marks Cogswell College as a continuing and vital institution in California as well as the nation. 


The Willimantic Chronicle - Year of 1882

Published every Wednesday.

McDonald & Safford, Editors and Publishers.
Office, Hall's Block, Main & Union Sts.
$1.50 per year.

M. Wallen, A.H. Freeman, O.G. Hanks. Prompter: O.M. Richardson.


TWC Wed Dec. 6, 1882: About Town:

The Cogswell drinking fountain project received its eternal quietus Monday.
As a gift it was growing to be a very expensive elephant for the borough
to accept.


 TWC Wed Dec. 6 1882: Borough Meeting. At
the borough meeting in Armory hall Monday about fifty were present. All
votes hitherto passed relating to the Cogswell drinking fountain were rescinded
without opposition. Mr. John C. Hooper was voted $12 per year for supplying
the watering trough at corner of Main street and Mansfield avenue. The matter
of obtaining two outlets of water from Mr. S.G. Adams works to supply
drinking water at the curbstone at places deemed desirable received no action.
The adjourned borough meeting to that date for the purpose of acting upon
a report presented by the committee on the borough charter revised substantially
accepted the changes as recommended by that committee.


TWC Wed Dec. 20, 1882: About Town.
The Linen company changed its time Tuesday morning from Boston to Connecticut
time, twelve minutes slower.
The Willimantic Farmers club will meet at the residence of N.P.
Perkins, Pleasant Valley, next Saturday evening.
Now that the Cogswell fountain has been disposed of, perhaps that donation
from Col. Barrows will soon take some definite shape.


Boston Common is a public park, containing about 48 acres, on the southwesterly slope of Beacon Hill. It is
beautifully diversified with knolls, avenues, parterres and fountains; and delightfully sheltered by great trees,
— English and American elms, lindens, several varieties of maple, English oak, cottonwood and other kinds.

Near the centre is an iron fence surrounding a thrifty young tree, on the spot where stood the Old Elm, so noted
from its size and for the tragic events which have occurred in its vicinity. In 1776, as many as thirty Indians,
concerned in massacres, were hung upon the branches of this and other trees around it. Here, in early days, Quakers
were hung for conscience' sake; and here, later, Whitefield preached to an audience, it is said, of 20,000. This
tree was destroyed in the great gale in 1876. Near by, on the north side, is the Frog Pond (without a frog), a
pretty little lake, and within it a fountain throwing a huge jet of water to a great height. Rising from the margin
of the pond is the central and highest elevation of the Common, on the summit of which stands a lofty column, of
white granite surmounted by the bronze figure of Liberty: its base surrounded by allegorical figures of stone in
half relief; while lower, on the four angles of the pedestal, are bronze statues of a soldier, a sailor, the muse
of history and the genius of peace. The monument is by Milman, and commemorates the sons of Boston, lost in the
war of the Rebellion. On the Park Street side of the Common is the noble fountain presented by Gardner Brewer.
About midway on the Tremont Street side are the Cogswell fountain, mostly of granite, and the interesting monument
to Liberty, erected in 1888. The design is by Robert Kraus. It is a round column, of granite on a pedestal of the
same material, on the front projection of which stands a beautiful bronze figure of Liberty, with an eagle just
alighting at her feet. It is popularly known as the Crispus Attucks monument, because his name stands first on
the list of those who fell in the Boston Massacre, in 1770, which this monument commemorates. In the southern part
of the Common is the Old Central Burying Ground, long unused, and now deeply shaded by a variety of thrifty trees.
In this cemetery were buried many British soldiers. In the early days of the Revolution the Common was the principal
camp ground of the British. The Charles Street side was then the western water front, and along its line were pits.
for the musketmen; while batteries occupied the eminences in the rear.


OVER THE TEACUPS by Oliver W. Holmes

BEVERLY FARM, Mass., August, 1891. O. W. H.

"Let us get out of reach of this," I said; and we left our planet,
with its blank, desolate moon staring at it, as if it had turned pale
at the sights and sounds it had to witness.

Presently the gilded dome of the State House, which marked our
starting-point, came into view for the second time, and I knew that
this side-show was over. I bade farewell to the Common with its
Cogswell fountain, and the Garden with its last awe-inspiring monument. 

"Oh, if I could sometimes revisit these beloved scenes! "I exclaimed. "There is nothing to hinder that I know of," said my companion. "Memory and imagination as you know them in the flesh are two winged creatures with strings tied to their legs, and anchored to a bodily weight of a hundred and fifty pounds, more or less. When the string is cut you can be where you wish to be,--not merely a part of you, leaving the rest behind, but the whole of you. Why shouldn't you want to revisit your old home sometimes?"



This manuscript includes a 12-page typewritten biography of Dr. Henry D. Cogswell written by Everett E. Farwell and a typewritten covering letter from Farwell to California Historical Society dated May 18, 1959 at the time Farwell donated the biography and two photographs (of Dr. Cogswell and of the Cogswell fountain) to CHS.

Farwell writes from 1718 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda, California on May 18, 1959. He says he has been working towards publication of a biography of Dr. Henry D. Cogswell. Now, however, he is confined to a wheelchair and unable to proceed with his work. He is donating his research to California Historical Society with the hopes that they might publish Cogswell's biography in their quarterly and that he might edit it. He also is including a photograph of Dr. Cogswell and one of the Cogswell fountain on Market Street in San Francisco. Farwell says that the last time he saw the monument in the Lincoln Park Golf Course erected by Dr. Cogswell it was in a bad state of repair.

Farwell's biography of Dr. Henry Daniel Cogswell begins with birth on March 3, 1819 in Tolland, Connecticut. He was the second of five children born to an architect/builder/carpenter who moved most of his family to Orwell, NY in 1828 in search of better opportunities, leaving young Henry with his paternal grandfather. Soon after Henry's 10th birthday, his grandfather died and the boy was left completely on his own. He managed to survive by finding a series of short-term jobs in exchange for room and board and minimal pay, primarily in factories throughout Connecticut in South Coventry, Willington, Coventry, Mansfield, Canterbury, Uncasville, Willimantic, and Eagleville. Cogswell struggled to educate himself along the way while working full time. He walked to Pawtucket, RI to seek work at a cotton mill, and in 1835, at age 16, apprenticed himself to a RI jeweler who went out of business in 18 months. By this time, Cogswell had managed to educate himself to such a degree that he passed an exam which qualified him to become a school principal in Sandy Creek, NY with 7 female teachers and 100 students under his jurisdiction.

Cogswell was determined to study medicine, and worked in a hospital in Watertown, NY and with a doctor in Sandy Creek. Next, he returned to RI and studied with a Providence dentist for two and a half years before he opened his own dental office in Pawtucket. By 1847, when he was 28, Dr. Cogswell had applied for a patent for his invention of a vacuum chamber for securing plates for artificial teeth.
Dr. Cogswell's career was interrupted by the California Gold Rush, which lured him west in 1849. He opened stores in Stockton and Curtis Creek, then eventually settled in San Francisco where he opened a dental office and began a business in dental, medical and surgical instruments. Dr. Cogswell invested his profits in real estate, and by 1855 had amassed a fortune of at least $2 million. He spent the remainder of his life managing his assets and traveling the world.

Cogswell and his wife set out in 1870 on a 4-year round-the-world trip, a means of augmenting the rudimentary education which Dr. C. had had. The trip aroused in him philanthropy towards those who had difficult early lives as well as strong feelings about intemperance. Dr. Cogswell invented a patented public drinking fountain which could be cooled in hot weather by a single piece of ice, and built these of granite and bronze in 16 U. S. cities, including one on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC in 1882. In 1865, he donated a building and land to the University of California for a dental school, but this was returned to Dr. Cogswell nine years later after the university was unable to develop it because of a lack of funds.

In San Francisco, Dr. Cogswell built and endowed the Cogswell Polytechnic College, formally opened in 1887 for manual, industrial and technical training of 600 students. He provided a generous endowment and financial help to needy students, remembering his own roots of poverty, and with his wife served for years on the board of trustees. He purchased a cemetery plot for unknown dead in the City Cemetery through the Sailors' Home Society . Dr. Cogswell also designed a family mausoleum in the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, with statues of Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance at the four corners and his motto engraved thereon: "I honor meritorious deeds of philanthropy, heroism and fidelity. I encourage temperance, art, science and mechanics."
Dr. Cogswell married Caroline E. Richards of Providence, RI in 1887. Mrs. Cogswell shared in her husband's lifelong activities.

An article from California: The Empire Beautiful, subtitled Pioneers - Sons and Daughters, by Mrs. J. J. Owen, published in San Francisco in 1899, gives a brief biography of Dr. Cogswell. Dr. Cogswell was descended from early American pioneers, and could trace his lineage back to Lord Humphrey Cogswell in 1447 whose coat of arms and motto ("I neither despise nor fear") he adopted. He first arrived in California on the ship Susan G. Owens in 1849. He and his wife traveled extensively through Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. A caption beneath a photograph of Cogswell Polytechnic College in San Francisco states that the college was open to both male and female students and was generously endowed by Cogswell himself.

Dr. Cogswell's fountains were erected in Washington, DC; Pawtucket, RI; Fall River, MA; San Jose, CA; and San Francisco, CA. The Washington fountain was accepted by joint Congressional action in 1882, but deemed so undesirable that it was relegated to a remote location. 

A Cogswell fountain in San Francisco was built at the corners of Market, Battery and Bush Streets, bearing a likeness of Dr. Cogswell himself, dressed in a frock coat and offering a glass of water in an outstretched hand. San Francisco's wine drinkers strongly objected to the Cogswell fountain and its temperance message. They lassoed the neck of the good doctor on the fountain one night and pulled it to the ground where it broke into many pieces. The local newspapers applauded the action, and the crime was never prosecuted. The Donohue monument later replaced the Cogswell fountain.

Another Cogswell fountain was erected in front of the Cogswell School (Polytechnic College), with a similar likeness on it of Dr. Cogswell complete with top hat. Passersby often would stick a whiskey bottle into the bend of his arm! This fountain and statue were destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.

According to Farwell, two statues erected by Dr. Cogswell still stand in San Francisco -- one on the Lincoln Park Golf Course, dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Lambert, founder of the Ladies' Seaman's Friend Society, and the other in Washington Square in North Beach, bearing a likeness of Benjamin Franklin with water faucets on three sides beneath the names of three kinds of mineral water: Vichy, Congress and California Seltzer. Farwell reports that Albert De Rome, then living in Pacific Grove, CA, once was associated with the Congress Springs Mineral Water Company near Saratoga. He recalls Dr. Cogswell's plan to bury tanks of mineral water beneath his Washington Square statue so residents of San Francisco could benefit from the water free of charge through the faucets. An inscription by Dr. Cogswell on the monument indicates that there is a P. O. box filled with mementos for the Historical Society to open in 1979.

Farwell states his belief that Dr. Cogswell was the first dentist to use chloroform as a dental anesthetic in California. The first patient, who had three teeth extracted on February 18, 1853, was Mrs. S. Martin. Dr. Cogswell is buried in the family plot, about 100 feet square with a central obelisk, in Mountain View Cemetery in Piedmont, CA. He died on July 8, 1900 at 80. Mrs. Cogswell died on February 6, 1902 at 79.

Another biographical sketch of Dr. Cogswell's life gives his birth date as March 3, 1920. He was the son of George Washington Cogswell and Polly (Dimmick) Cogswell. He married Caroline E. Richards on December 7, 1846. She was the daughter of Reuel and Laura (Paine) Richards of Providence, RI. The Cogswells lived at 319 Broadway in San Francisco. They had no children.

Cogswell's mother died when he was eight. He left for California on May 9, 1849, laden with a good supply of merchandise, which he quickly parlayed into a business. His wife joined him in California in 1851. In addition to his gift of a dental school to the University of California, Dr. Cogswell endowed the Cogswell Chair of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at the State University and The Cogswell Relief Fund for needy students.

Thirty-one of Dr. Cogswell's public drinking fountains were erected in cites around the U. S., including Brooklyn, NY and Providence, RI. The Washington, DC fountain was approved by Congress on July 6, 1882 and erected at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street in 1884. An inscription indicated that it was given in perpetuity to the American Union.

The Cogswell mausoleum in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA was made from 400 tons of cut granite. The obelisk is 60 feet tall.

Four colossal Italian marble sculptures of Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance mark the corners. The 10,000 square feet of the plot are enclosed by polished granite. The mausoleum cost $60,000.

A description of the demise of the Cogswell fountain on Market Street claims that the deed was done by a self-appointed committee of artists whose sensibilities were outraged by the lack of artistic value of the statue of Cogswell which appeared thereon. Subsequent newspaper articles seemed to indicate that the artists who pulled down the Cogswell statue had done San Francisco art circles a great service. An elderly member of the Bohemian Club claims that some club members had joined in demolishing the statue.

A copy of the joint Congressional resolution, accepting the gift from Dr. Cogswell of an ornamental public drinking fountain, is dated July 6, 1882. The resolution makes plain that the fountain will be erected entirely at Dr. Cogswell's expense. The Commissioners of the District of Columbia were charged with deciding where the fountain should be located, with providing lanterns to light it at night, and with supplying refrigerating materials when needed to keep the water cool.

An excerpt from California's Medical Story by Henry Harris, published by Grabhorn Press in 1932, claims that Cogswell's offer (first to the state association, then to the University of California) of an endowment for the first California dental school was accepted in 1879 but never used because it was complicated by so many strings.

An excerpt from The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1933, reports the common practice of wealthy men having their healthy teeth replaced by gold ones. Dr. Cogswell is identified as a leading San Francisco dentist who amassed a fortune and became an avid prohibitionist. His aim was to erect one public drinking fountain -- each with a statue of himself adorning it -- for every 100 saloons. Seven were erected in San Francisco, but none survived more than a few years.


Stoned again

April 26, 2003

Washington, DC is the place to see for fans of monuments and memorials writes Claire Miller.

Here, everything is celebrated, from the Lobstermen of Maine to the Boy Scouts of America, the Nuns of the Battlefield to the singer Sonny Bono. On the lawns of the Mall, the broad avenues, the parks and the pavements, is laid out a feast of great deeds, local heroes and lost causes.

Like the Temperance fountain across the road from General Hancock. This modest affair was presented to the city by a Dr Henry Cogswell of San Francisco, California. Who was Dr Cogswell, I wondered, and what would he think of modern America, where beer can be bought at the 7-Eleven? Still, he left the city a nice monument: a crane standing over two intertwined fish, the symbolism of which presumably means something other than drinking like one.


City of Kooks?
Notable San Francisco Eccentrics

Among the most cherished of San Francisco institutions are its weirdoes -- er -- eccentrics. They include people who yell at the tourists at trolley stops, coffee house philosophers with unique views, millionaires who want to leave some large folly in their memory, and many others. Some are artists, some are financiers with an eye for the odd, and others are just independent, creative types. These people have defied convention in some remarkable way and by their antics, caused us to remember and cherish them.

Dr. Henry Cogswell   (webmaster's note: 1 of 27 that were featured in this article!)

Dr. Henry Cogswell believed that it was his duty to spread the good news of modern dentistry to a caries-ridden populace. His mode of carrying out this worthy missionary activity is what puts his name among the great eccentrics. Cogswell not only thought dentistry was a good thing, but he also evidentally believed that he was the embodiment of all that was good about dentistry because he gave to the city several statues of himself offering a glass of ever-flowing water to thirsty citizens. "Purple Cow" author and humorist Gelette Burgess lost his job as a drafting instructor at UC Berkeley because he made some unmentionable alteration to one of these monuments to dental hubris.




There are four parks in the city proper. Krug Park, the largest and most beautiful, is beyond the city limits, though under municipal jurisdiction. All of these parks were donated. Smith Park was the gift of the late Frederick W. SMITH ; Patee Park was the gift of the late John PATEE ; Mitchell Park, the gift of A. M. MITCHELL, and Washington Park , the gift of those who placed St. Joseph Extension Addition on the market .

These were all dedicated when the additions containing them were platted. Krug Park, containing 10 acres, was the gift of Henry and William KRUG, made in February of 1889.

Smith and Patee parks were rough ground in the beginning, but the grader made all things even . Up to 1870 Smith Park was occupied by a florist. When the Smith Branch Sewer, which cut through the northeastern portion of the park was completed, the place was graded and filled. In 1882 an iron fence was built, In 1884, Dr. Henry COGSWELL, of San Francisco, a noted advocate of temperance, presented the city with his statue, to be placed in the park, DR. Cogswell was engaged in perpetuating himself by the means of these statues, which were mounted upon drinking fountains. Samuel WESTHEIMER, who was then a member of the council, and who had been instrumental in having Smith Park opened for public use, heard of Dr. Cogswell. Mr. Westheimer was of the opinion that any kind of a statue would look better than no statue, and if one could be had without cost, the effort should be made. He therefore induced the Council to request Dr. Cogswell for his effigy in metal. The Doctor was a little slow, but finally yielded -- conditionally, however. The conditions were the city should purchase four lamps and should agree to keep the fountains running during the drinking season, and that one fountain should give forth ice water, These conditions were agreed to and the statue arrived. The city built a substantial base, under which provision was made for cooling the water. This feature of the bargain, however, has long been neglected.

Much sport was made of the statue at the time of its arrival and some wag circulated the report that it was an advertisement for " vinegar bitters ". Dr. Cogswell, though vain, was a well - meaning man, and did everything in his powers to promote and encourage temperance, even to being a candidate for the presidency in the interest of prohibition.


Who made a vow to erect one statue with a water fountain for every 100 saloons in San Francisco? "Henry Cogswell, who made his money installing gold crowns on teeth of miners who wanted to show off their Gold Rush fortunes"



Rockville Reminder story 11/1/05

Cogswell Fountain History

Cogswell Family Association --








Cogswell fountain in San Francisco, CA.  Exactly like Rockville CT fountain in design and figure on top.

San Francisco, similar to Rockville, CT


               Dr. Henry and Caroline E. Cogswell

(From Malcolm Cogswell to Bryan Flint)

 Henry Daniel Cogswell (DJC 4057, left) could be called a self made man.  His mother died when he was eight and his father left him with his grandparents, who died soon after.  He worked in a cotton factory to earn money for his education, then taught school and later studied dentistry.  He married Caroline E. Richards and set up a dentistry practice in her home area – Providence , RI .  When gold was discovered in California , he moved there and, through dentistry and business, became a millionaire.  He founded the dental college of San Francisco and endowed Cogswell Polytechnical College . 

Cogwell_statue.gif (188220 bytes)             He is, however, also remembered for presenting various cities with drinking fountains – 31 in all.  These had various designs.  Some of them had a statue of himself on top, like the one (left) in Rockville , erected in 1883, with a glass of water in one hand and a temperance pledge in the other.  Apparently, he hoped that providing water would prevent the use of stronger beverages.  Not everyone liked the statue, and someone removed it and threw it in a lake.  It was rescued and replaced but soon disappeared again, and the statue was replaced with an urn (right.)  The statue did reappear in 1908, leaning against a building, with a sign around the neck which read “I’ve come back for Old Home Week.”  (The statue was then stored but sent for scrap during World War II.)

cogswell03rc.jpg (18313 bytes)            Many of the fountains have disappeared.  In San Francisco , wine drinkers lassoed the neck of the good doctor on the fountain and pulled it to the ground where it broke in many pieces.  This crime was never prosecuted.  The fountain at Jewell Park in Pacific Grove remained until it was melted down in aid of the war effort during World War II.  In Boston , complaints about the fountain resulted in the ( Mass. ?) legislature establishing an Arts Commission in 1890 so that future statues, fountains, etc., would be approved (or rejected) before they were erected in the city.

            Others are still intact.  In Vernon , CT , the Bond Commission in 2002 announced a grant to aid Rockville Central Park make improvements, and one of the many improvements was restoring the historical Cogswell Fountain.

            Another is in Manhattan ’s Tompkins Square Park .  Its dolphins are missing and, in place of the heron is Hebe, cupbearer to the Gods on Mount Olympus .  There is also a lengthy inscription on a plaque.

            The fountain in Washington , DC , (left) still exists.  It was accepted by resolution of Congress on July 8, 1882, and installed in 1884.  In 1885, the Post reported that C. H. Buell, in charge of the Center Market, thanked the fountain contractor “for making the impractically and inartistically constructed Cogswell Fountain, virtually forced on the commissioners and people of the district by a special act of Congress, of some little use.”  About 10 feet tall, the base has four pillars which support a pyramid roof with a heron on top.  Two entwined dolphins in the middle once spouted water (from melted ice placed inside).  Unfortunately, the ice chest was not airtight, the faucets ran and puddles formed.  Basins were placed to catch the drip but they were replaced by a grating at pavement level.  Water is no longer provided at the fountain.  It is not recorded when it ran dry.  In 1928, a temperance group called the Sons of Jonadab promised to provide ice for it but whether they kept that promise is not known.  In 1945, a senator from California called it “a monstrosity of art” and demanded its removal.

            Washingtonians took a lighter view.  An “exclusive” group of 12 members called the Cogswell Society meet the first Friday of each month to revere the memory of their namesake, Dr. Henry Cogswell.  They have a meal, drink, swear and attribute fictitious accomplishments to the inventor of a new method of installing false teeth.  E.g., he invented a glow in the dark condom for those who want to rise and shine.  Someone once suggested he gave up dentistry because he couldn’t stand his patients’ bad breath, so he became a proctologist.  At each meeting, someone

proposes “a toast to temperance,” to which the reply is “I’ll drink to that!” as the members hoist their glasses and stand on one leg like a heron.  (The heron on the fountain is firmly anchored by both feet to the cupola.)   A reporter passing the fountain on April 8th, 2005, noticed someone painting the dolphins a shiny gold.  (The heron will remain grayish-green.  He asked.)

            Your editor has been unable to find out if the Cogswell Society still exists.  It was mentioned in a letter to the Washington Post on December 25th, 2004, but the writer of the letter did not know if it was still in existence.

            Cogswell fountains also were donated to San Jose, CA, Brooklyn, NY, Fall River, MA and both Pawtucket and Providence, RI.  A fountain with his statue was erected in front of the Cogswell School ( Polytechnic College ) but was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.

            Dr. Cogswell is also said to have been a candidate for the presidency in the interest of prohibition.

            We hear much less about Dr. Cogswell’s wife, but apparently she also wanted to leave a legacy by which to be remembered.  Her will left instructions to build a clock tower in Jenks Park , adjacent to City Hall, in Central Falls , RI .  Apparently, she remembered the town from her childhood.  The tower was built in 1904, 18 feet square and 69 feet high, with a clock on each of its four sides.  Observation balconies with iron rails under each of the clocks provide an unparalleled view of the city.  It is built on historic Dexter’s Ridge, from which Indian scouts during King Philip’s War spotted the approaching colonist army.  As a result, Captain Michael Pierce and his company of Plymouth Soldiers were ambushed and almost annihilated on March 26th, 1676. 

Caroline Cogswell's Celebrated Morning Tonic            The clock is the official symbol of Central Falls , which sponsors Sunday afternoon concerts throughout the summer.  The tower is open for observation on concert dates and during special events and festivals.

            It is reported that Caroline Cogswell once sued her husband for misrepresenting legal documents which he persuaded her to sign – giving away their home and property to finance the founding of the college.  Otherwise, it is reported that she “ably seconded all her husband’s efforts for the uplifting of his fellow-men.” 

            Someone else claimed to have found in a long forgotten storeroom at Cogswell College a few faded sheets of paper with elegant and old-fashioned handwriting the formula for a “bracing and revitalizing tonic.”  It included rum and brandy!  The manuscript promised this tonic would “aid in the treatment of all kinds of ills, including melancholia, hysteria, vapors, dyspepsia, female troubles, marital strife, legal difficulties, overwork, underpay, incompetent management and general disgust with the current political situation.”  The document was unsigned, but the person claiming to have found it “knew at once” that its author must be Caroline Cogswell. 

            (Or is that a joke like those told at the Cogswell Society in Washington ?)

dsc00024.jpg image is 96730 bytes

A Dancing Cogswell

               CFA member Don Cogswell of Eagan , MN , is involved with the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games and has even been its President.  His mother’s side of the family had Scottish roots, which were honored in his family.    That’s especially true of his daughter, Kira, right in the middle of the picture at left.  Kira was only about 2 years old when her father took her to Macalster Highland Games in Minneapolis and, whenever she heard the bagpipes, she wanted to go and listen.  At five years old, she told her parents that she wanted to do highland dancing. She did not start lessons until she was seven, starting with teacher Florence Hart in Minneapolis .  She became a Premier (highest level) dancer at age nine and has qualified for the National Championship competition

Washingtonpost. Newsweek Interactive

c/o E-mail Customer Care

1515 N. Courthouse Road




Cogswell, E. C., History of Nottingham , 1878


Caroline Cogswell's Celebrated Morning Tonic

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

6 tablespoons instant coffee crystals

1 vanilla bean, split

10 whole cloves

10 whole allspice

2 1-inch pieces cinnamon stick

1 cup dark rum

1 cup brandy


·         Make simple syrup by heating sugar and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring to mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add instant coffee and spices and remove from heat. Cool. Add rum and brandy and pour into a glass or ceramic container (not metal or plastic)*. Cap tightly or cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steep for three weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking or swirling around in the container every three days.

·         Strain out the spices and discard. Line a funnel, a sieve or a coffee cone with a dampened coffee filter** and pour the liqueur through.

·         Change the filter regularly. This is a SLOW process! After filtering, cover tightly and age another three or four weeks (or more-the longer it ages, the better it gets).

Makes about 4 cups.



The Just-Say-No Fountain

(From Malcolm Cogswell to Bryan Flint)

(From the Washington Post - Sunday, December 12, 2004 – by John Lockwood

cogswell03rc.jpg (18313 bytes)            Not many people probably even notice the Cogswell Fountain at Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW , maybe because it doesn't work anymore. But the curious few who stop to look it over wander away none the wiser because no plaque or sign explains its history.
            The structure is about 10 feet tall. The base has four pillars that support a pyramid-shaped roof, which has a statue of a heron on top. Two entwined dolphins inside once spouted water from their mouths.
            This fountain was one of many placed around the country in the 1880s by Henry D. Cogswell, a rich dentist who wanted to encourage people to drink water, not the demon liquor. Cogswell gave fountains to San Jose; San Francisco; Boston; Buffalo; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Dubuque, Iowa; Portsmouth, Ohio; and of course, the nation's capital.  All the other fountains, though, were topped not by a heron, but by a bearded gentleman proffering a tumbler of water. This figure was the "guardian of the fountain," Cogswell said, although many people detected a distinct resemblance to the dentist himself.  

    Not everyone looked kindly on the dentist's watery gifts. The April 10, 1885, issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, for example, called the "guardian" of that city's fountain a "ghastly effigy." That guardian eventually was replaced by a vase.

Cogwell_statue.gif (188220 bytes) Washington fountain                  Washington 's Cogswell Fountain was accepted by a resolution of Congress on July 8, 1882, and installed in 1884.
            According to the original design, blocks of ice were supposed to be placed inside its base during the summer to provide ice water. But the chamber for the ice was not airtight, and the faucets ran, so the ice idea melted away Rockville original with quickly. The running faucets also caused puddles and dirt to accumulate on the surrounding sidewalk.  Brass basins were to be added under each dolphin to solve the puddle problem, but if that didn't work, Plan B was to add a gutter with grating to catch the excess water. The fountain today has no basins, but it is surrounded by a grating at pavement level.
            On June 10, 1885, The Post reported that C.H. Buell, who was in charge of Urn replaces guardian   the Center Market that then operated in that part of the city, thanked the fountain contractor "for making the impractically and inartistically constructed Cogswell Fountain, virtually forced upon the commissioners and people of the District by a special act of Congress, of some little use."
            The fountain settled in for a quiet, water-dispensing existence after that. No one recorded -- or possibly even noticed -- when it went dry. It did pop up in the news occasionally, though.  In the summer of 1928, for example, a temperance group called the Sons of Jonadab promised to provide ice for it. The society's name came from the 35th chapter of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, in which Jonadab, son of Rechab, says, "drink no more wine, neither ye, nor your sons, nor your daughters, forever." No record exists as to whether the group followed through on its promise.  On April 11, 1945, the fountain popped up in the news again when a senator from California dubbed it "a monstrosity of art" and demanded its removal.
            Ironically, one of the Cogswell Fountain's neighbors is the ornate office building at 633 Pennsylvania Ave. It now houses the National Council of Negro Women, but in the mid-20th century, it was the address of what would have been an anathema for Cogswell -- the Apex liquor store.
            Most of the Cogswell fountains have disappeared, while Washington 's endures. In a downtown stuffed with vast memorials -- and no doubt to be further stuffed with many more -- it is somehow reassuring that a bit of eccentricity from another era has managed to survive. Now can someone see about turning the water back on?  

(From other sources – See April 1997 Courier)

            A Cogswell fountain in San Francisco was built at the corners of Market, Battery and Bush Streets, bearing a likeness of Dr. Cogswell himself, dressed in a frock coat and offering a glass of water in an outstretched hand. San Francisco 's wine drinkers strongly objected to the Cogswell fountain and its temperance message. They lassoed the neck of the good doctor on the fountain one night and pulled it to the ground where it broke into many pieces. The local newspapers applauded the action, and the crime was never prosecuted.

Cogswell FountainCogswell Fountain (at left) was a water fountain erected by a temperance advocate. It was in Jewell Park until WWII, when it was melted down for the war effort.

Vernon CT - $250,000: January 25, 2002, Bond Commission announced a grant-in-aid to Rockville Central Park for improvements, including the removal of overhead utilities and placing them underground, reinstalling period lighting period lighting and benches, new sidewalks, regrading and sod, restoring the historical Cogswell Fountain and redesigning/ improving the Veterans Memorial.

            In 1883, Cogswell, a San Francisco real estate tycoon, donated the fountain to the town of Rockville in honor of his cousin William Cogswell, a local builder.  (See pictures previous page.)

            The city council was pleased to accept the donation, but once it got a look at the fountain, some townspeople had second thoughts, according to town historian S. Ardis Abbott.
            Like all of his fountains, the memorial he sent to Rockville was topped with a life-sized statue of himself holding a glass of water in one hand and a copy of the Temperance Pledge in the other. Unlike the seven fountains he had installed in San Francisco , the Rockville fountain is made of zinc, not bronze or granite,
            The anti-alcohol message didn't go over well here, where residents had voted against the town "going dry." "There were something like 33 saloons in Rockville ," Abbott said Monday. "They were the social clubs of the working people."  "In the middle of the night one night, someone took down the statue and threw it into the lake," Abbott said.
            The constabulary dragged the statue out of Shenipsit Lake and reinstated Dr. Cogswell atop the fountain, but soon he disappeared again. The good dentist's likeness did not reappear until 1908, when he was discovered leaning against a downtown building with a sign around his neck, "I've come back for old home week."
            Stored for safekeeping, the statue was sent to a scrap drive during World War II. The fountain has been topped with a stone urn since then.

            In Washington DC , on the first Friday of each month, the exclusive Cogswell Society gathers to revere the memory of their namesake, Dr. Henry Cogswell.  They drink, they swear, and they attribute fictitious accomplishments to the inventor of a new method of installing false teeth. At the February assembly, one Cogswellian claimed that Dr. Henry had also devised a glow-in-the-dark condom "for when you want to rise and shine."  Ostensibly, the Cogswell Society was formed to protect the good doctor's grotesque Victorian drinking fountain. But in practice, the society is an excuse for an afternoon of convivial rippling, a secret fraternity with its own arcane and pointless rituals, where Washington  lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals can let down their hair.  There are exactly 12 active members, selected by unanimous vote of their peers. A 13th seat is kept open in the never-ending hunt for the perfect Cogswellian. 

The master of ceremonies is addressed as the Lead (as in the metal) Heron, in honor of the gangly bird perched atop Cogswell's fountain. He picks the site and makes the arrangements. This month, London Daily Express bureau chief Ross Mark has that honor. "Gentlemen, a toast to temperance!" he shouts. "I'll drink to that!" reply the assembled members, hoisting wine glasses and balancing on one leg in imitation of the heron. It's a ritual without basis in fact: A close inspection of Cogswell's cast-metal crane reveals both his feet firmly attached to the cupola. "It's just a shtick we're used to; besides, water birds are supposed to stand on one leg," explains Buswell afterward. 

            Deane Maury, a Washington realtor, continues with a few meditations on Cogswell the man, considerably embellishing the doctor's official biography. "It's believed he gave up dentistry because he couldn't stand his patients' bad breath, so he became a proctologist." A couple years ago, the society discovered Cogswell's great-nephew working in the Treasury Department and invited him to a meeting, recalls a member.  "He was so insulted that he left during the soup." "I think you can see that we really do have affection for the old guy," noted Ruswell. "But you just can't come to our meetings and have a thin skin." 

            Sen. Sheridan Downey, a California senator in the 1940s, suggested that the fountain "be torn down by chains and dragged away.”   

            A writer to the Washington Post December 25th, 2004 did not know if the Cogswell Society still exists, nor has your editor been able to find out.

Pawtucket , dedicated November 22 1880.  Water came from mouths of gargoyles etc., crowned by bronze stork with glass star in its beak. 

Rockville in 1883 had Dr. Cogswell on top, with temperance pledge and a glass of water.

Fall River and Boston 1881

Washington DC 1882

1890 Arts Commission established by Legislature ( Mass. ?) to approve (or disapprove) statues etc. before they are erected – resulting from complaints about Cogswell fountain in Boston .

Rochester NY – fountain lasted only 2 years.

Buffalo – set up next to Presbyterian Church which got a court injunction to have it removed. 


    History tells us far less about Caroline Cogswell. One account reports only that she "ably seconded all her husband's efforts for the uplifting of his fellow-men" (except, we must assume, for the time that she sued him for misrepresenting some legal documents he persuaded her to sign, which she only later learned gave away their home and all their property to finance the founding of the college). We can only guess at what her daily life was like with the good doctor, or how she found the strength to carry on through all his noble endeavors.

Caroline Cogswell's Celebrated Morning TonicSeveral years ago I was employed by Cogswell College . In preparation for the college's relocation to a new building, I was helping to sort out and pack the contents of a long-forgotten storeroom. There, in the back of a drawer in a dusty and ancient roll-top desk, I found a few faded sheets of paper. I was barely able to make out, in elegant and old-fashioned handwriting, the formula for a bracing and revitalizing tonic. The manuscript promised that this concoction would aid in the treatment of all manner of ills and maladies, including melancholia, hysteria, vapors, dyspepsia, female troubles, marital strife, legal difficulties, overwork, underpay, incompetent management, and general disgust with the current political situation. The document was unsigned, but I knew at once: Who could possibly be the author but Caroline Cogswell herself?

After much study and experimentation, we have at last managed to re-create Caroline's excellent tonic. Once again, its benefits are available to one and all, to help us meet the challenges and aggravations of our daily lives with a light heart and a firm resolve. It is our hope that this beverage, inspired by the college that bears her name, shall serve as a fitting memorial to Caroline Cogswell and the sterling example she set for us all.

(Then again, maybe I found the recipe in a 1981 issue of Gourmet magazine--my memory isn't as good as it once was. You'll just have to guess which is the real story.)


Henry D. Cogswell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 


Henry D. Cogswell, ca. 1850-52

Dr. Henry Daniel Cogswell (March 3, 1820 – July 8, 1900) was a dentist and a crusader in the temperance movement. He and his wife Caroline also founded Cogswell College in San Francisco, California. Another campus in Everett, Washington was later dedicated in his honor.

Born in Tolland, Connecticut, as a youth, he worked in the New England cotton mills and studied by night. He became a dentist in Providence, Rhode Island at age 26. When the California Gold Rush started, the Cogswells decided to go west. However, they did not do any mining themselves. Instead, he offered dentistry services to miners and invested in real estate and mining stocks, becoming one of San Francisco's first millionaires. A pioneer in his field, Cogswell designed the vacuum method of securing dental plates and was the first in California to perform a dental operation using chloroform.[1]

Cogswell believed that if people had access to cool drinking water they wouldn't consume alcoholic beverages. It was his dream to construct one drinking fountain for every 100 saloons across the United States and many were built.[2] These drinking fountains were elaborate structures built of granite that Cogswell designed himself. Cogswell's fountains can be found in Washington, D.C., Tompkins Square Park New York City,[3] Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, Fall River, Massachusetts, and San Francisco. The D.C. fountain is known as the Temperance Fountain. The concept of providing drinking fountains as alternatives to saloons was later implemented by the Women's Christian Temperance Union.


Destruction of Cogswell's fountain in San Francisco, 1894. San Francisco Call.

These grandiose statues were not well-received by the communities where they were placed. The Temperance Fountain has been called "the city's ugliest statue"[4] and spurred city councils across the country to set up fine arts commissions to screen such gifts.[5] Although the D.C. statue survived mostly unscathed, the San Francisco one was torn down by "a lynch party of self-professed art lovers" including Gelett Burgess (who was subsequently fired from his job at University of California at Berkeley)[6] and one in Rockville, Connecticut, was thrown into Shenipsic Lake.[7] In Dubuque, Iowa, a statue of Cogswell that sat in Washington Park was pulled down by a group of vandals in 1900 and buried under the ground of a planned sidewalk. The next day the sidewalk was poured and the object was entombed. However, when new sidewalks were recently laid, the statue was not found.[8].

Cogswell also designed the statue for his own tomb, a 400-ton granite tower, complete with fountains and statues of Hope, Faith, Charity and Temperance. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.[9]

The diaries of Cogswell and his wife Caroline cover 37 years (1860–1897) and are an unusually long and consistent record of busy personal and financial life in the western United States. They are kept at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.



External links


Cogswell, Dr. Henry D.



Cogswell, Dr. Henry D. Henry Cogswell believed that if people had access to cool drinking water they wouldn't consume alcoholic beverages. It was his dream to construct one drinking fountain for every 100 saloons across he United States and many were built. These drinking fountains were elaborate structures built of granite that Cogswell designed himself. Cogswell's fountains can be found in Washington, D.C., New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, San Francisco and other cities. The concept of providing drinking fountains as alternatives to saloons was later implemented by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

The fountains were actually dwarfed by the large structures built in connection with them. Each was different but they were usually topped by a large statue of Cogswell holding a Bible in one hand a glass (presumably of water) in the other.

They were apparently not always well-received by the communities where they were built. One of the fountains in San Francisco was torn down by "a lynch party of self-professed art lovers" and one in Rockville, Connecticut was thrown into a lake. One of the fountains in Washington, DC, has been called "the city's ugliest statue" Cogwell’s well-intentioned structures reportedly spurred a movement across the country for cities to screen such gifts.


  • Ciparelli, Jessica. Back where he belongs: Dr. Henry Cogswell statue once again graces Rockville’s Central Park. (
  • Cohn, Abby, They‘re 6 feet under, but pioneers draw crowds to Oakland, San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 2001.
  • Kitsock, Greg. All’s well that ends with a drink to Cogswell. Washington City Paper, March 6, 1992.


Cogswell Fountain Fact Sheet



Erected 1883


Designed by:  Henry D. Cogswell (1819-1900)


Foundry:  Monumental Bronze Company, Bridgeport, CT


Medium:  Zinc, painted silver and gilded.


Dimensions:  Sculpture:  9 ft x 5 ft.4 in. x 7 ft;   Base [pad]: aprox. 1in x 10 ft x 10ft 9

wt. 5000 lbs)


Narrative from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System:

  • Fountain is listed on the Smithsonian Institute’s American Art Museum-Inventory of American Paintings and Sculptures
  • “Cascades and Courage” by George S. Brooks (Rockville, CT ), 1955
  • Also on the “Save Outdoor Sculpture-Connecticut Survey, 1994”
  • Article about the sculpture in YANKEE magazine, March 1971.


Narrative:  Erected by Dr. Henry D. Cogswell, a native of Tolland, CT in honor of William T. Cogswell (figure on statue).  The cost was $4,000.  The City of Rockville contributed $500 for the foundation, water, plumbing and lighting.  This is one of over one dozen fountains erected across the country by Cogswell to support the position of the Temperance Movement of the late 1880’s.  Other notable cities that were recipients of a Cogswell fountain as a gift were:  San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pawcatuck, CT, Brooklyn, NY, San Jose, CA, Washington, DC.


2003- Central Park Restoration Project Committee was formed by Town Administrator Laurence Shaffer to begin identification of Central Park and Cogswell Fountain restoration and enhancement.


August 2004- Mrs. Rosetta Pitkat made a donation to the Rockville Downtown Association, Inc. to administer for the purpose of recreating a likeness to the original William T. Cogswell figure that stood atop the original fountain.  This likeness or a top similar to another style used on the Cogswell fountains will be included as part of a fountain restoration project using a State of Connecticut grant.



August 1, 2005

wpe7D.jpg (101097 bytes)     









founta38.jpg (94225 bytes)   founta39.jpg (98117 bytes)

 wpe83.jpg (107066 bytes)  wpe85.jpg (75748 bytes)  founta42.jpg (84121 bytes)

 founta8.jpg (77513 bytes)    founta9.jpg (60282 bytes)    founta7.jpg (89465 bytes)    founta10.jpg (60556 bytes)    founta11.jpg (85881 bytes)

 founta12.jpg (69405 bytes)    founta13.jpg (72312 bytes)




Dedication Ceremony     

Cogswell Fountain Restoration (RDA Planning Meeting)

Status: base in restoration phase (town project), statue nearing complete with expected arrival to CT in mid July. 

Partners:  Parks and Rec, Town Admin., Vernon Historical Society, Local Historic Properties Commission. Nearing rededication: Jim Luddecke and Tony Vecarrelli

Funding:  in place via town funds for base and gift to RDA for statue.

Lead RDA volunteer:  Steve Marcham (RDA), Larry Shaffer (Town)

Meetings:  as needed/called by lead members.  Design cmt. Advisory at this point.


TO DO:  statue to be installed, generate PR re repatriation of statue, and rededication. Set date for rededication ceremony.  Make huge deal of rededication.  Invite cogswell descendants (J. Ludecke from town hall can help with this), contract with Tony V. to do theatrical performance at event, market cogswell fountain statue ornaments, create program for the day with all pertinent info (see pamphlet done for gateway wall), invite Yankee Magazine, Al Roker/GMA, etc.  as this could be national news.  Make sure in setting date that Ms. Pitkat and Mayor will be here.  Event should be co-coordinated with Larry Shaffer/Bruce Dinnie from town side.


Ideas for rededication ceremony:


  1. Invite Cogswell ancestors (j. Luddecke has info and contacts)
  1. Create keepsake booklet (5” x 7”) denoting; Smithsonian institution info/listing, info on restoration process including info on Daetalus, LaFevre Studios, Rosetta Pitkat.  Story of original, reprint of Yankee article shrunken down to fit page, list of RDA committee people from Design Cmt. and town staff who were responsible for project.  A small blurb about Prohibition era philosophies and Cogswell himself and where other statues were erected.
  1. Invite dignitaries from: Smithsonian, State historic preservation agencies, National Trust for Historic Preservation, The CT Main Street Center, Vernon Historical Society, Tolland Historical Society (Cogswell lived there), CT Trust for Historic Preservation, CT League of History Associations, our State Historian, State Dept on Culture & Tourism.  If someone from Smithsonian comes have them cut ribbon
  1. Invite reps from Daetalus, LaFevre Studios to attend as well as Governor Rell and members from Cogswell College in Washington state.
  1. Event itself:
  2. Tony Veccarelli has written a wonderful one man, one act play about Cogswell.  The RDA will hire him to be a special feature of the rededication.
  1. Contact NE School children to sing the Cogswell Fountain song they did under the state troubredour grant program.  The Vernon Arts council was involved and will have info.
  1. Sell Cogswell fountain ornaments.  Give one away to each high ranking dignitary as a keepsake.
  1. Tress fountain out in patriotic bunting.  Put red,white,blue bunting ribbon around four posts to section off fountain area and then cut that ribbon for ceremony
  1. Install spotlights to shine on statue from 4 lamp posts surrounding fountain tundra
  1. Encourage people to dress in 1880’s garb, costumes.  Maybe have several act as Temperance Marchers and orators.  Ask peter olson for contact for a horse drawn wagon.  Have someone ride into town with a wagon full of wood crates market as moonshine and whiskey and then open the bottles (filled with colored water) and pour them down the storm drain near the fountain).  I have some reenactor friends who might love to do this and may have all the contacts and period garb to pull it off.  Would make our event much more unique.
  1. Have a writing contest in school for a theme based around alcohol abuse or the benefits of drinking water to keep a healthy body.
  1. Send press kits with articles and photos as well as historic info to:


The Connecticut Post

Hartford Courant

Newtown Bee

New Haven Register

Philadelphia Inquirer

Washington Post

New York Times

Yankee Magazine

ABC Good Morning America

NBC-The Today Show

The Reminder

North Central News

Radio Stations

Boston Globe


Post event send full stories and photos to historic preservation magazines, and magazine sections of major newspapers.



Dr. Cogswell Back In Park

EASTERN CONNECTICUT New Temperance Leader Statue Delivered

August 4, 2005

By MONICA POLANCO, Courant Staff Writer

 VERNON -- After an absence of more than six decades, Dr. Henry D. Cogswell's likeness once again graces Central Park.

A statue of the eccentric millionaire and temperance crusader was eased into place above the Cogswell fountain Wednesday morning, drawing a band of photo-ready spectators.

Rosetta Pitkat, a lifelong Rockville resident who donated $50,000 to pay for the reproduction of the statue, watched from an air-conditioned car as a crane hoisted the fiberglass statue above its fountain.

"It was something that I wanted to do while I'm here on this Earth," Pitkat said afterward.

The first Cogswell statue was installed in Rockville in 1883, but Pitkat never had a chance to see it.

The statue of the Tolland-born dentist holding a glass of water in one hand and the temperance pledge in the other was tossed into nearby Shenipsit Lake in 1885. The statue was returned to the fountain, but it was stolen again and reappeared in 1908, propped against the base of the fountain with a sign around its neck saying: `I've come back for Old Home Week."

It was donated to a scrap metal drive during World War II.

Cogswell, who lived in San Francisco during the Great Gold Rush, believed people would abstain from drinking alcohol if they had access to cool drinking water. He hoped to build a fountain for every 100 saloons across the country, bringing his concept to cities including San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia, according to the Rockville Downtown Association.

Not everyone agreed with Cogswell's anti-alcohol message.

In Washington, D.C., the home of another Cogswell fountain, the Cogswell Society would gather to toast the dentist's memory with various alcoholic beverages and off-color jokes.

Gregg LeFevre, a New York artist who made the Cogswell statue installed in Central Park, re-created the dentist's image from grainy newspaper photos and photographs of Cogswell. Pitkat praised the finished product.

"The details on that man's face ... his fingers - they did a wonderful job," she said.

Town officials expect to hold a ceremony honoring Pitkat and others who helped bring Cogswell's visage back to Vernon, but a date has not been set.

Still, the temperance crusader's return has no influence on the availability of alcohol in Vernon, said Town Administrator Larry Shaffer.

"Vernon by all reports has been a working town, a mill town and in my experience, no mill town is a dry town," Shaffer said. "I think Dr. Cogswell invites us to partake in the ideal, but we know that human nature being what it is, we don't live up to that ideal."



Back where he belongs:

Dr. Henry Cogswell statue once again graces Rockville’s Central Park


VERNON — “Welcome home, Dr. Cogswell,” said state Senator Anthony Guglielmo to the crowd that gathered for the dedication of the Cogswell Fountain in Rockville’s Central Park on a dreary Saturday afternoon.

    The crowd included Mayor Ellen Marmer, state Reps. Claire Janowski and Joan Lewis, state Senator Tony Guglielmo, town council and Rockville Downtown Association members, former RDA Executive Director Luise Craige, current RDA Executive Director Randy Anagnostis, Town Administrator Larry Shaffer, and local philanthropist Rosetta Pitkat. Pitkat donated $50,000 for the replica of the original Cogswell statue. LeFevre Studios, Inc., of New York was commissioned to replicate the 1883 statue.

    “This statue would not have — been possible without the funds to reproduce it,” said Steve Marcham, former RDA president and former mayor. “The town is in debt to one person – Rosetta Pitkat.”

    “We have come here to honor a historic figure,” continued Marcham. “This is a collaboration of the Rockville Downtown Association, town of Vernon and state of Connecticut.”

    The statue itself is also a collaboration – the base is from the town of Vernon, said Marcham, as he introduced Mayor Ellen Marmer to discuss the town’s hand in the project.

    “This was a great collaboration,” said Marmer. “Our public works [department] was at it again, working to restore the base.”

    A chuckle went up from the crowd when Marmer noted that the town now has in its possession, a mold for the Cogswell statue, which in the past, has had the tendency to disappear off its pedestal.

    “Just in case Mr. Cogswell ends up in the Snip [Snipsic Lake] again, we can resurrect him,” she said.
    The fountain project was part of a larger Central Park project, which is being funded by state and federal funding. State Rep. Claire Janowski secured a $250,000 state grant, part of which – $35,000 – was used for the restoration of the base of the statue, and to plumb the fountain for running water.

    Marmer said the Central Park project will go out to bid as soon as the federal government allows them to, since federal funds are also involved.

    Setting the stage for the unveiling of the statue, Vernon resident Anthony Vecchiarelli told the story of the Cogswell Fountain as the “Spirit of the Cogswell.”

    Dr. Henry Cogswell was a San Francisco dentist and philanthropist, and a native of Tolland. In 1883, Cogswell erected a fountain in honor of his cousin, William T. Cogswell, in Rockville’s Central Park. Dr. Cogswell was an advocate of prohibition and the Temperance Movement, which pledged that individuals abstain from the use of alcohol.

    “Alcohol was the indispensable cure, and its abuse was a problem,” said Vecchiarelli. “But the solution put forth by the temperance [pledge, banning alcohol] was so simple, it was doomed to fail. The temperance pledge was a tool for extremists. Excess is the problem – anything can be overdone – even Henry’s water.”

    The Cogswell Fountain was one of 31 fountains commissioned around the country to provide a source of water, from which residents could partake freely. Other fountains were built in Brooklyn, New York, San Francisco and San Jose, California, Washington, D.C., Fall River, Massachusetts, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

    “The gift was seen as self-promoting egoism,” said Vecchiarelli. “Who was this millionaire doctor from San Francisco, sending this statue of himself honoring his cousin, telling us what to drink?”

    The Cogswell statue held a glass of water in one hand, a Temperance Pledge in the other. In many cities, anti-temperance residents destroyed, toppled or replaced the statues with neutral figurines or vessels. In Rockville, the statue was stolen twice, then eventually melted down for scrap metal during World War II.
    Two years after the statue was put in place, it disappeared, only to be found in Snipsic Lake.

    “I can assure you that my removal was no harmless prank. If it was water I wanted, it was water I would get,” said Vecchiarelli, as the Spirit.

    The statue was recovered from the lake, cleaned and returned to its pedestal, but disappeared again shortly after. It mysteriously reappeared during the 1908 Town Centennial Celebration, or “Old Home Week,” with a hand-written sign noting, “I have come back for Old Home Week.”

    Following Old Home Week – the statue even took part in the parade festivities – it was brought to the Town Farm and eventually, melted down for scrap metal.

    “This [1883] fountain was no innocent gift – it was a political challenge,” said Vecchiarelli. “In 2005, it is a fountain – to rejuvenate downtown Rockville and thus, rejuvenate downtown America. This new Henry – what does he stand for now? That brown metal sheet [in his hand] is Rockville’s history – Henry stands for Rockville now.”

    State Reps. Claire Janowski and Joan Lewis, along with state Senator Tony Guglielmo, presented Rosetta Pitkat with an official state citation and presented the philanthropist with a state legislative pin, which are hard to come by, according to Janowski.

    “It will not give you complete access [to the Capitol building] but it will certainly impress the guard,” said Janowski, as she placed the pin on Pitkat.

    Malcolm Cogswell, a descendent of the Cogswell family and editor of the Cogswell family newsletter, arrived from Quebec, Canada to attend the ceremony. Cogswell said at first, he was a bit apprehensive about how the town would deal with the meaning of the statue.

    “I’m really glad we came – it’s quite exciting,” he said. “I was wondering how they were going to deal with it because it was a very strong temperance statue. They did very well,” he said.

    When asked if he could abide by the temperance pledge, Cogswell said, “Maybe I could take it with the exceptions – my father and mother were members of the Temperance Lodge – ‘The Sons of Temperance’ – which meant total abstinence from anything with alcohol in it. They never went, but they were members.”

    The exceptions to the Temperance Pledge include, “as a medicine prescribed by a competent physician as a curative, or as a preventative health measure, or, for religious purposes, or, on Special Days–such as The Fourth of July when we celebrate our independence and the birth of our great nation.”

    The dedication ceremony marked the culmination of years of work by both private and public participants in the planning, design, restoration, manufacture and installation of the final Cogswell Memorial Fountain.

It won’t give you complete access, but it’s impressive all the same! State Rep. Claire Janowski laughs with Rosetta Pitkat, after Pitkat was presented a state citation and a “sought after” legislative pin, which Janowski said are hard to come by. “It will not give you complete access [to the Capitol], but it will certainly impress the guard,” said Janowski, as she pinned the legislative pin to Pitkat’s jacket. Pitkat, a Rockville-born philanthropist, donated $50,000 for the new Cogswell statue in Rockville’s Central Park.
   Photo by Jessica Ciparelli.


The unveiling. Former mayor and former RDA president Steve Marcham and former Executive Director Luise Craige help unveil the new Cogswell Fountain. Photos by Jessica Ciparelli.  


The plaque. A plaque explaining the Cogswell history and Pitkat’s donation is located across from the statue.  


A lot of effort put forth. Steve Marcham, Town Administrator Larry Shaffer, former RDA Executive Director Luise Craige, Rosetta Pitkat, and Mayor Ellen Marmer brave the elements to pose next to the new Cogswell Fountain following its unveiling.  


 back to


Rockville Reminder story 11/1/05

Cogswell Fountain History

Cogswell Family Association --