A 1908 fountain where Central Park horses can drink

It’s not Central Park’s most ornate horse water fountain. That honor likely goes to the Victorian-era Cherry Hill fountain, which to my knowledge no longer works but is quite beautiful, with frosted glass lamps and black goblets.

But the bathtub-shaped granite trough at the Sixth Avenue entrance to Central Park also contains a fountain—bringing fresh water to the animals that Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1866, dubbed the “mute servants of mankind.”

The fountain was donated to the ASPCA by a Mrs. Henry C. Russell in 1908. Where the fountain was originally installed isn’t clear, but in 1983 it was found at Kennedy Airport’s “animal shelter,” according to a 1988 New York Daily News article, and then brought to City Hall Park.

After a Central Park carriage horse “swooned” in the summer heat in 1988, an outcry prompted the city to move Mrs. Russell’s fountain—now 113 years old—to this spot beside the park, near a line of waiting horses and their drivers.

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5 Responses to “A 1908 fountain where Central Park horses can drink”

  1. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    I wonder if the horse water fountain still exists on 14 St & off 1st Ave in front of the church. Used to be a dump for beer cans and assorted debris.

  2. Beth Says:

    Cherry Hill fountain in Central Park absolutely still works. Preference is given to Bethesda Fountain to get it flowing after the winter but water flows from both. It’s difficult for horses to approach it now, thanks to a wide curb that was built around it.

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