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Fundraising Stalls for Effort to Rebuild Lebanon Cemetery Fountain

  • The fountain at Lebanon's Glenwood Cemetery in the late 1800s. A group is hoping now to restore the now dilapidated fountain to its former glory using old parts and donations. Courtesy Photo

  • The fountain at Lebanon's Glenwood Cemetery on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at Glenwood Cemetery in Lebanon, N.H. The group hoping to restore the fountain says they are thousands of dollars short of the goal. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • The fountain at Lebanon's Glenwood Cemetery on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at Glenwood Cemetery in Lebanon, N.H. The group hoping to restore the fountain says they are thousands of dollars short of the goal. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, August 14, 2017

Lebanon — A group of volunteers hoping to breathe new life into a historic Lebanon fountain say they’ve hit a wall with fundraising, and are now short thousands of dollars needed for repairs.

Members of the city’s Fountain Working Group set their sights on restoring the fountain at Glenwood Cemetery last year. The effort was slated to be their seventh fountain project in Lebanon, but some worry the fundraising momentum built over the last few years is coming to an end.

Since collections began last July, the $30,000 fountain project has received just three private donations, including $4,000 form the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, according to members of the group.

“This year, I tried to do a different approach to try to raise funds,” said Priscilla Gosselin, who leads the working group.

Past renovations were made possible through contributions from community organizations and corporate sponsors, she said. But because the cemetery benefits many Lebanon families, Gosselin and the group wanted the restoration to be funded by residents.

“And we did get a very few responses, which we’re very grateful for. But it was not a great response,” she said.

Located on a quiet parcel of land just off Dulac Street, the Glenwood Cemetery marks the final resting place of Civil War veterans, prominent Lebanon residents of generations past and business leaders dating back to the 1880s.

The cemetery’s fountain also dates back to that period, according to city historians. Standing tall in the center of the property, the two-tiered fountain once welcomed visitors to the burial ground.

But the decades wore away at the fountain until 2000, when much of it was taken apart. All that is left now is a concrete base.

Gosselin said the fountain’s condition worried many, and so it was placed on the working group’s initial list of seven in need of saving.

The group has so far restored the Colburn Park fountain, the Marion Carter fountain, a fountain on High Street, one on School Street and another in the Old Pine Tree Cemetery.

In 2015, they completed work on a fountain in the downtown pedestrian mall utilizing $78,000 in donations before setting their sights on the Glenwood Cemetery.

Gosselin said the group received donations of two basins and a pedestal that will replace the fountain’s original structure. Each was recently sand blasted and painted semi-gloss black for an estimated $1,000, leaving the group with roughly $3,000 to complete the remaining work.

However, there are several large costs that could hold up the project, including work on the fountain’s concrete base and possible electrical work, according to Gosselin.

The group has a contractor willing to repair the base, she said, but they’re unlikely to have a quote until it’s determined where a new water line will run. The current line is either closed or broken, Gosselin said.

“I know that we just don’t have the funds for that,” she said of the concrete work.

Power lines run along Dulac Street but it’s also unclear how much it will cost to run power to the fountain. Gosselin said the group is also exploring solar power, which could also be costly.

“So, I think that is where we’re at,” Gosselin said. “I’m trying to find different sources of funding.”

At the city’s Heritage Commission on Wednesday, Chairman Robert Welsch recommended merging part of the project with a proposal from the VFW to place a flagpole in the cemetery.

Lights to illuminate the flagpole could run off the same power as the fountain, he said in an audio recording of the meeting, adding the city could be inclined to help contribute if the project is dependent on solar.

As for the rest of the project, Gosselin said the group still will be dependent on the generosity of donors.

Some people visiting the cemetery on Sunday said they would like to see the fountain make a return, but it’s unclear whether all those who visit would be willing to contribute money to make that happen.

Joyce Lowman and her daughter, who is also named Joyce, were tending to a grave at the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. Both said they would like to see the once-functioning fountain returned to its former glory.

“It would be nice to have that thing going. It really would be nice,” said the elder Lowman, adding that a working fountain would contribute to the cemetery’s already “peaceful and quiet” charm.

The younger Lowman said she never saw the fountain when it was fully operational. By the time she began visiting loved ones in the cemetery “it was already starting to decay,” she said.

“They do a good job keeping up in the cemetery,” the younger Lowman said.

Police often patrol the cemetery to deter vandals and the grounds are kept clean, she said, but it would be an added benefit to see the fountain up and working again.

Donations to the Glenwood Cemetery fountain restoration effort can be sent to The Glenwood Cemetery, care of the Lebanon Rotary Club, at PO Box 132, Lebanon, N.H. 03766.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.