A Neoclassical Mystery SOLVED!

Leonidas-SpringI posted this monument/fountain not knowing what or where it was or is, hoping that one of my faithful readers would come through, and my readers came through! A couple people suggested that this was in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, but it was Bill M at The Capewell Glass Negative Collection page over on Facebook who definitively identified it and provided some terrific links.

It’s The William Leonidas Springs Fountain and it is in Fairmount Park. Bill M provided this link which features a terrific picture postcard of a horse getting a drink at the fountain, and these Flickr images showing that it still exists. Thanks, Bill!

Judging Capewell’s image against the modern images, it looks as if Capewell shot his photo before the fountain was dedicated. The section bearing Springs’ name and the date in the wreath look to be blank. Springs died in 1892 , and the monument was dedicated in 1899-1900. Either the inscription was made at a later date or Capewell has been shooting his negatives for longer than I originally thought.

I couldn’t find much information on William Leonidas Springs, but his family were originally aristocrats in the South. His ancestors received a land grant from King George III which was turned into a plantation. I’m not sure what William was doing in Philadelphia, but apparently he was doing well enough to merit a monument.

William Leonidas, born August 15, 1816, died in Philadelphia, Pa., April 6, 1892, buried in Philadelphia. Married Mary Clara David April 30, 1844. She was born in Philadelphia August 2, 1826, died June 26, 1895, buried at Philadelphia.

Any other information would be greatly appreciated. Please leave it in the comments section below.

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7 Responses to A Neoclassical Mystery SOLVED!

  1. Ira says:

    Possible Capewell photography connection? In 1884, a “William L. Springs” was a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia. Search/find for text “william l. springs”


  2. Tina says:

    Interesting find, Ira – the family of William L. Springs presented a series of lantern slides to the Photographic Society after his death. “Magic” lantern slideshows were used for educational purposes as well as for entertainment in the first third of the 20th century. New film technologies made them obsolete.


  3. Old NFO says:

    That’s great to be able to ‘tie’ one more picture down… 🙂

  4. Thanks for the link to my photos on Flickr. In a bit of serendipity, I too am an active member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia of which Mr Springs belonged. We have an active membership and are proud to be the oldest photographic society in America (founded 1860). http://www.phillyphotosociety.org/

  5. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks, Jeremy! Beautiful pictures, by the way!

    So was Mr Springs famous for his photography thus the monument or was it something else? I couldn’t find a lot on him.

  6. ira says:

    He was a wealthy Phila merchant, active in civic and cultural associations.

  7. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks, Ira!

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