Still on the trail of Rebecca at the Well and other fountains around York, Pa.

This York Daily Record photo of the fountain in front of Trinity United Church of Christ is obviously not a recent image.  But the fountain is one of the best-known, although perhaps most overlooked, in the York area. Also of interest: When Penn Park had a “stone lighted fish pond.”

The topic today is fountains, playing on discussions that some type of water monument could/should be part of efforts to rehabilitate York’s Continental Square.

– Despite efforts by York Town Square and Universal York’s June Lloyd to locate the Rebecca at the Well statue that for decades stood in Penn Park, no one has come forward to definitely point out it is this or that particularly barn.

Since Rebecca was removed from Penn Park many years ago, there’s the usual questions here and there about what happened to her. If you know, comment below or otherwise let us know. (You’d think Blake Stough and Preserving York, history sleuths, would have he moxie to flush it out.) Perhaps Rebecca could be brought out of hiding to delight folks another day. Perhaps Rebecca could be part of efforts to revitalize the Codorus Creek area of the city.

– There’s a dry fountain in front of the old York County Courthouse, now the county administrative center. One long-time observer of York County seems to remember the presence of a common ladle years ago when the fountain flowed freely.

– A fountain was design into East Market Street’s York City Parking Garage’s original design but seemed to be invisible to many members of the public except for vandals.


– Another often overlooked fountain is the trickle in the waterworks in the lawn of Trinity United Church of Christ. Some long-time observers of York County say that fountain has been flowing as long as they can remember.

There are – were – no doubt many more.

With all the projects under way in and around the city – including Rebecca’s old grounds at Penn Park – there must be a way to bring back a fountain that will delight and cool. Perhaps the York Water Company, coming up on its 200th birthday in 2016, would have a hand in such.


This fountain isn’t in York County. It’s the WCTU – Women’s Christian Temperance Union – fountain in Ocean City, N.J., still a “dry” vacation spot. The fountain, really a monument with a function, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Notice the drain in the lower part of the photo above, provided a cool drink for pet, or perhaps when it was built, horses. Here’s the question. Are there any monuments or markers in York County recognizing the days of the temperance movement? That movement was strong 100 years in York County, too. In fact, the comfort stations in Continental Square are testaments to those days, indirectly. Please comment below.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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6 Responses to Still on the trail of Rebecca at the Well and other fountains around York, Pa.

  1. Stephen H. Smith says:

    Several other York Area fountains stand out in my mind. When my siblings and me were younger my Mom drove us into York once a week to return and checkout books at the Martin Memorial Library. I still remember the fountain in the children’s wing surrounding a statue of a child standing on a ball and holding turtles in both hands. I always enjoyed the relaxing sound of trickling water radiating from that fountain as I looked through the shelves for books. I recently walked through the children’s wing to get to the inter-library loan office; I don’t remember seeing or hearing that fountain any more. A much bigger fountain was the large circular fountain at the back entrance to the York County Shopping Center. When new, this fountain was nice during the day, however it really impressed as a night entrance to the stores for people parking in the big back parking lot. The maintenance costs for this fountain must have been prohibitive, because eventually the fountain was permanently drained. I believe the fountain in the York Mall stayed functional for most of the life of the enclosed mall. The York Mall fountain was located in the two story high north-side mall entrance to Hochschild Kohn, which eventually became the Bon Ton and is now Burlington. There was also a fountain in the York Galleria Mall. It was located in the mall next to Boscov’s. Even though the Galleria fountain was small, it also was eventually shut down and plants were set in the fountain.

  2. Sarah Ward says:

    As a former Natioal President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
    (note Woman’s is singular), I began searching for WCTU fountains. Over 60 around the world have been found. Check the website I gave above to see a partial listing. The Rebecca fountain you discussed could well have been WCTU. There is one on BlockIsland, Rhode Island.

  3. Stephen H. Smith says:

    Thanks for pointing out the link to the photo of the turtle fountain. That photo brought back memories of yesterday; sitting on the edge of the fountain looking through books. Glad to see that the fountain is still on the premises. Even though the outside fountain can be seen through a window, the children now days are deprived of the relaxing sound of trickling water radiating from that fountain that at one time filled the children’s wing.

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