SUSAN WILLIAMS GRAHAM MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN / THE WATERS OF TRUTH

SUSAN WILLIAMS GRAHAM MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN / THE WATERS OF TRUTH

street: ,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1922
/ Modified in
1956
Construction type: 

 

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Last updated

  • Sat, 02/24/2024 - 1:20pm by SteveR

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street: ,
Chapel Hill
NC
Built in
1922
/ Modified in
1956
Object Type: 
Object Subtype: 
Construction type: 

 

Susan Williams (Moses) Graham was the wife of UNC President Edward Kidder Graham. She died on December 22, 1916 at the age of 34.

Replacing the old town pump (and hollowed out oak tree section used as a trough) in April 1922, the memorial fountain was commissioned by a local committee of friends and family, was designed by Roger N. Burnham (of Chicago), was cut by the Vermont Marble Company, the site was prepared by T. C. Atwood (of Durham), and it was installed by Bain & Kimball (of Durham). The monument cost approximately $2,000, with the money raised mostly within the community and from friends.

There is a carved relief of a woman pouring water from a jug, based on "Rebecca at the Well." The street side of the monument had a basin for horses to drink from, and is engraved "The waters of truth flow freely, drink when and where you may." The sidewalk side had three spouts above a basin for humans to drink from, and is engraved "To keep fresh the memory of Susan Williams Graham."

There were complaints almost from the start that the water no longer flowed freely, and that after a rain it filled with "scummy, black liquid." At some point the pipes feeding it were disconnected. And people parking on Franklin Street complained about dented fenders from hitting the monument.

On November 5, 1956, the fountain was moved by University employees from its original location in front of the [original] Methodist Church on the south side of East Franklin Street (basically across from Sutton's), and was installed at the northwest corner of the Coker Arboretum, east of Morehead Planetarium and south of the Chapel of the Cross. The "human side" faces outward, FYI.

The fountain about to be dismantled, November 5, 1956 (photo via UNC)

The fountain being dismantled, November 5, 1956 (photo via CHNL)

The fountain being dismantled, November 5, 1956 (photo by Fred Powledge/DTH)

Frm the September 21, 1921 Tar Heel

Circa 1930 postcard (monument can be seen in lower left)

The fountain at its current location (photo via UNC)

 

SOURCES:
The Tar Heel, September 21, 1921
The Tar Heel, April 25, 1922

 

The Tar Heel, January 23, 1923
The Daily Tar Heel, February 11, 1938
The Daily Tar Heel, November 6, 1956
The Chapel Hill News Leader, November 8, 1956
The Daily Tar Heel, October 2, 1960.

 

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