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Efforts are underway to restore and reopen a fountain in South Bend that stood as a city landmark more than a century ago


SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Efforts are underway to restore and reopen a fountain in South Bend that stood as a city landmark more than a century ago.

A committee of about 20 residents, led by The History Museum in South Bend, is drawing up a proposal to present to the parks board in hopes of starting a fundraising drive for the Studebaker Electric Fountain.

The Studebaker Electric Fountain, which features cast-iron cherubs, dolphins and turtles, was a gift to the city from John M. Studebaker, co-founder and president of the Studebaker wagon, carriage and automobile company.

The fountain was dedicated in Howard Park in July 1906, fell into disrepair after about 35 years and then disappeared from public view for nearly 70 years. Rusty and disassembled pieces of the fountain resurfaced in 2009 in a backyard near Osceola and are now sitting in a storage facility.

The restoration project likely will cost between $475,000 and $625,000, the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/1P0Id51 ) reported.

Jeff Horvath, chairman of Florida-based firm WESCO Fountains Inc., already has determined that the fountain is in good condition for its age and can be restored to its former glory. The company produced a comprehensive report on what it would require to restore the existing fountain pieces, cast new pieces to replace the missing sections and install a modern-day water piping and filtration system.

After the restoration, the fountain's lights might be linked and coordinated with the nearby interactive River Lights sculpture.

Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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